10 Things That Happened on 4th Week of Shutdown
The partial government shutdown that began Dec. 22 is now the longest in U.S. history. Our union is calling on the Trump administration and Congress to reopen the government immediately. Here’s what happened as the shutdown drags on and entered its fourth week on Jan. 14.
1. Federal employees missed their first pay check
For the pay period that ended Jan. 5, the normal pay dates would occur between Jan.11 and Jan. 17 depending on their agency payroll schedule. But because of the shutdown, the employees didn’t get paid. Thousands have applied for unemployment to get by. A TSA officer put his home up for sale because of the shutdown.
2. Federal employees in Washington, D.C. crashed Senate Republicans’ retreat at the Nationals Park
To pressure Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to call a vote on the House-passed bills that would reopen the government, AFGE members, federal employees, and allies rallied at Nationals Park where Senate Republicans were on a retreat.
3. TSA officers rallied at airports to protest the government shutdown
TSA officers who have been working without pay rallied at airports across the country to protest the shutdown that began Dec. 22. TSA officers are among the lowest-paid government employees and among those hit the hardest by the shutdown. If more officers quit their jobs as they can’t afford to come to work, it will endanger the flying public.
4. Several agencies called furloughed employees back to work
The Internal Revenue Service, the Food and Drug Administration, and the Agriculture Department recalled thousands of furloughed employees to soften the shutdown blow on the American public, but the employees will not get paid until the government reopens.
The State Department, on the other hand, searched their funding resources and found funds to recall and pay employees for two weeks.
5. Bills introduced to give feds financial assistance
A bill has been introduced to allow feds to withdraw retirement funds without penalty.
6. Backpay bill signed into law
At the urging of AFGE, a bipartisan bill was signed into law to provide back pay for federal employees forced to work without pay or locked out of their jobs without pay during the shutdown.
7. More financial institutions, insurance companies offer financial relief
As the employees started to miss their paychecks with no end in sight, more financial institutions and insurance companies have offered financial assistance. AFLAC, for example, is offering an open-ended grace period. PayPal is offering an interest-free cash advance up to $500. Unum ensures that feds’ insurance coverage will continue during the grace period and will work with employees if the shutdown continues. Check out www.afge.org/shutdown for more financial resources.
8. Government websites at risk during the shutdown
As the Department of Homeland Security is under a shutdown, security experts fear sophisticated hackers would infiltrate DHS’s new Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, which is being operated under a skeleton crew, and use that as a launching pad to attack other federal networks.
9. A typical fed has missed $5,000 since the shutdown
The median government salary is $77,000 a year, and approximately one-fifth of federal workers make less than $50,000. A new analysis shows a typical federal employee has so far missed $5,000 in wages.
10. Businesses mobilize to end the shutdown
Businesses led by the U.S. Chamber of Congress is putting pressure on Trump and Congress to reopen the government since the shutdown is causing damage to families, businesses, and the economy.