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Shutdown Day 8: Federal Workers Concerned About Pay as New Year Approaches

The shutdown has entered week two, and things appear stagnant for now. After his tweets threatening to close the border yesterday, President Donald Trump continued blasting Democrats over the shutdown today and saying they need to come to the table:

Last night, the President reportedly signed an executive order freezing the pay of federal workers for next year.

Amid all this, several reports over the past day have been taking a look at how the shutdown is affecting federal workers, many of whom are worried about receiving any pay at all as the new year approaches.

The New York Times reports on how “anxious” they are, speaking to several federal employees worrying about working without pay for the foreseeable future while the shutdown continues:

Anxieties are highest for the 800,000 federal workers furloughed or forced to work without pay. But the fear is spreading far beyond the federal work force, hitting government contractors, local governments forced to cover for furloughed sanitation and maintenance workers and organizations that feed the poor, who are dealing with a possible interruption to sources of funding and provisions.

BuzzFeed News spoke to a Bureau of Land Management geologist who is worried about losing his apartment:

It used to be that part of the appeal of a federal job was the stability, but after three government shutdowns in 2018, Johnson is rethinking his options.

“If this is the new norm, then I have to deal with the stress of not knowing if I’m going to be shut down every six to eight weeks,” he told BuzzFeed news. “I already talked to the landlord and he’s talked about letting me out of the lease if necessary.”

Several federal employees told BuzzFeed they’re worried about remaining “financially afloat for more than a month.”

By now you’ve probably seen the advice offered by the Office of Personnel Management that included this in a sample letter to landlords: “I will keep in touch with you to keep you informed about my income status and I would like to discuss with you the possibility of trading my services to perform maintenance (e.g. painting, carpentry work) in exchange for partial rent payments.”

CNN spoke this afternoon with one federal worker, Lila Johnson, who talked about her concerns that she won’t be able to provide for her family while the shutdown continues. You can watch that video above.

Family members of those serving in the Coast Guard have been worried as well, because service members have continued to work without pay, but those families will be receiving some relief. Per NBC News:

Roughly 42,000 active-duty military members of the Coast Guard will receive paychecks on Dec. 31 despite the federal government shutdown, a Coast Guard spokesman told NBC News on Friday night.

The one-time payment for active-duty members, reservists who were active in December, and retirees is part of a short-term solution agreed upon by the Trump administration, the Department of Homeland Security, and the Coast Guard, according to a blog operated by the Coast Guard.

[image via screengrab]

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Josh Feldman is a Senior Editor at Mediaite. Email him here: josh@mediaite.com Follow him on Twitter: @feldmaniac