Govt. shutdown affects Rio

Alex Lydon, Co-News Editor

During his campaign, President Trump has stated that if elected, he would begin the construction of a wall on the United States southern border. Two years later, the president seeks to fulfill his promise at the cost of many middle class families.

President Trump’s push for funding for his wall has left many Rio Americano families without funds for over a month. Many families have expressed frustration with the delay of their paycheck for what seems to be an issue not worthy of a government shutdown

On Dec. 22 the government shutdown after Trump and the Democratic party refused to come to an agreement over the $5 billion allocated to the construction of the border wall. The shutdown left approximately 800,000 federal workers without pay. This shutdown became the longest running shutdown in U.S. history, surpassing the second longest government shutdown, which occurred in 1996, lasting 21 days. This time the shutdown lasted 35 days.

Three days prior to the shutdown, the Senate passed a short-term spending bill which would allow the government to continue running until Feb. 8. The Republican controlled House of Representatives then added $5 billion in funds dedicated to the border wall, returning it to the Senate. In the Senate, the bill failed to received enough votes and the shutdown began.

On Jan. 14, South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham, who has worked closely with the President, suggested he reopen the government in order to pursue a deal under better circumstances. President Trump rejected this offer, stating he had no interest in delaying this issue.

For over 800,000 federal workers this shutdown has meant working with no pay. Only half are likely to receive pay once the government reopens while the other half will never be compensated.

Amongst the agencies shutdown the interior department , the food and drug administration, and the treasury department amongst others cease to work during the shutdown. Although many of these agencies may not seem to be of great importance, other agencies such as the TSA in charge of maintain security in our airports lost funding.

During the shutdown, the TSA reported 10% of their staff had called in sick within the last week of the shutdown. For many employees the financial limitations created by missed paychecks has caused many employees to not report to work, picking up second jobs to cover the lost income.

For many Rio Americano families, missing a months worth of paychecks may leave families seriously economically vulnerable. Many families feel as if the border wall has been prioritized over their liveliness. A Rio Americano student and daughter of a federal employee and a part time professor explained “My family lives paycheck to paycheck as many families do.”

It simply isn’t possible for families such as mine to remain afloat without a constant stream of income she explained. “He worked every single day as normal but didn’t get a paycheck” she said, “it was tough for my family because my mother works part time.”

While working without receiving a paycheck, many employees were forced to look for new or part time jobs. Unfortunately, many employees weren’t able to seek another job out of fear of losing employment. “My dad had to work if he didn’t want to lose his job”she said.

On Jan. 25 President Trump agreed to back a bill which would reopen the government but without funding for the southern border wall. The short-term funding bill will fund the government until the Feb. 15.

Although the government will be running through Feb. 15, Trump has warned that if democrats won’t reach across the isle and strike a “fair deal” he will yet again shutdown the government, or even place the country in a state of emergency.

In the two weeks following the shutdown a portion of the 800,000 government employees affected by the shutdown have either not received their due pay or only received a part of the due sum. Many of the government agencies have struggled to pay back their employees due to payroll glitches.

Recent negotiations between Republicans and Democrats have not been very fruitful. Democrats seek to change Immigration and Customs Enforcement priorities to focus on undocumented immigrants at the border, not already within the borders of the U.S.

As the date of the 15th approaches, employees are still unsure of the security of their job. The threat of another imminent government shutdown leaves many federal employees worried about the future of their career.

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