Whether it’s out of total incompetence and a lack of preparation or all part of the plan to destroy government one agency at a time, the Trump administration is doing its utmost to screw the government workers caught in this shutdown.
The contempt in the administration and among Republican allies toward these public servants couldn’t be more clear, starting at the top. Trump has said they don’t matter anyway, because they all vote Democratic. Other advisers have suggested that this is a pleasant vacation for all these folks, a welcome respite from their jobs. Republicans have dismissed their economic concerns, callously scoffing at the idea that these folks are living paycheck to paycheck.
As of now, the administration is making tens of thousands of employees in the IRS, air traffic control, Coast Guard, food inspection, law enforcement, TSA, fish and wildlife, and BLM continue working or come back to work despite the fact that they’ve been deemed non-essential. This eats into their ability to do what the administration has suggested to cover their missing paychecks: working off their rent with chores, or taking on side jobs. If they’re full-time on their actual jobs, there’s not a lot of time in the day to perform side jobs to cover the essentials.
Making it even worse, the employees who have been ordered back but are still classified as furloughed can’t even get unemployment benefits like their counterparts who aren’t on the job. A guidance still in effect from 2013 says that federal workers who are excepted from the shutdown and are required to work without being paid are “generally not eligible for unemployment benefits.”
The administration is trying to exact maximum pain on civil servants while minimizing pain on the public, and that could rebound on Trump. Meanwhile, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is making sure that this continues.
Call your Republican senators at 202-224-3121 and don’t stop until this is over.