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Tuesday 20th March 2018

Federal Workers Rally at White House as Thousands Miss Paychecks

Politics

Meriam H. Helal

Sat, 12 Jan 2019 12:20 GMT

Thousands of US federal workers will not receive a paycheck this Friday 18th January, as the partial US government shutdown stretched into its 21st day, rivaling the longest on record. At the same time, the House of Representatives approved legislation that the Senate passed on Thursday 10th January, to ensure that federal employees who are furloughed, or working without pay, would receive back pay when the partial government shutdown ends.

Despite a White House threat of a veto, House Democrats are passing individual spending bills this week that does not include new money for President Trump's wall on the border with Mexico. The Democrats are now trying to ratchet up the pressure on the Republicans who are anxious to end the shutdown that is about to enter its fourth week.

The spending bill includes about $36 billion for the department of the interior, National Park Service, Environmental Protection Agency and the world's largest museum, the Smithsonian Institution, among other priorities.

On Thursday, 10th January, hundreds of federal workers and their supporters rallied for their jobs near the White House, with signs saying, "Let me work for the people," "We want to work" and "Trump: End the shutdown."

The angry crowds demanded a stop to the shutdown, one employee saying to 7Dnews : "I don't know where the next paycheck is coming from, I have a mortgage. I have regular, everyday expenses, so I'm very concerned right now."

Another federal employee said "I live paycheck to paycheck, I earn a living wage when I work. I love my job, and I just want to get back to work."

With workers missing their first paycheck, and increased pressure on national parks, the economy and on federal programmes, Republicans are feeling the pressure to find a way to end the shutdown. But Mitch McConnell, Senate majority leader, and the top Republican in the Senate, has so far refused this year to bring in any legislation that Trump will not sign in to a vote.

President Donald Trump has said he would be willing to keep the shutdown going for a year or more if Democrats do not yield to his demands for $5.7 billion toward funding a border wall.


US & Canada