Government Shutdown 2018: The 4 Facts You Need to Know Right Now

Update: Both the House and the Senate approved a short-term funding measure and re-opened the government

The House and the Senate Jan. 22 passed and the President signed into law a short-term funding bill that keeps the government funded until Feb. 8, ending a three-day government shutdown that began at midnight Jan. 20. But that's two weeks from now. In other words, we could be doing this all over again in two weeks.

Thanks in large part to AFGE and our members' efforts, the Senate also passed a bill providing back pay for all federal workers, both who went to work and those furloughed. The House approved the measure Monday evening.

We're glad lawmakers have reached a deal to reopen the government. We're now asking Congress to come to a full year budget to fund the government. We do not support further short-term resolutions. 

Amid conflicting stories and alternative facts surrounding the shutdown and the furloughs, we want to make sure everyone is on the same page. 

Here are 4 things you need to know about the shutdown that could happen again in two weeks. 

What is AFGE’s goal?  

There is never an excuse for lawmakers to shut down the government. But when there is a shutdown, we work hard to make sure that federal workers come out of this mess unharmed, and to try to make sure that this is not just the first of many shutdowns as politicians take us from short-term budget to short-term budget.  

What have we been trying to do?  

Anticipating these budget standoffs, last December AFGE got Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD) to introduce S. 2274, the "Federal Employee Fair Treatment Act," and in the House of Representatives, we got Representatives Don Beyer (D-VA) and Rob Wittman (R-VA) to introduce the same bill, the Federal Employee Retroactive Pay Fairness Act.  

We worked hard to get members of Congress to pass the bills, but just this weekend, Sen. Thom Tillis (R-N.C.) and Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) blocked efforts to even bring the bill to the floor for a vote.  

AFGE is encouraged that lawmakers came to their senses and passed the backpay bill, shielding the employees from the impact of the crisis they didn’t create.

AFGE has also been talking to the media. Here are just a few examples:

What nobody is talking about but is happening behinds the scenes  

The real conflict going on in these budget fights is over spending caps, and a lack of willingness of Congress to pass an annual budget. Spending caps determine who and what will be cut or expanded, and who and what will pay for any realignments in spending. These spending caps and a lack of an annual budget are the most important reason why we are in this shutdown today and why nobody is even talking about full-year funding, just lurching from “continuing resolution” or CR to CR to CR. 

What every AFGE member needs to do now 

  • In the meantime, call your Senators and your Representative at their offices in Washington at (844) 669-5146, and then at their local offices at (888) 775-3148. Our voices and stories need to be heard if we are ever going to stop the cycle of Congress and the Administration playing politics with your job.  
  • Be well informed. The best way to stay in the loop is to subscribe to text message updates. It’s quick and easy. Just text AFGE to 225568 from your personal phone (never your government phone) and answer the three questions when prompted.
  • To see more ways to take action, visit the AFGE shutdown page here.

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