TELLING STORIES, CHANGING THE CONVERSATION

Partial federal government shutdown leaves many wondering if they will make it to their next meal

in Government & Policy by

The longest closure of non-essential government offices in U.S. history continues and is now on day 32. As time rolls on, many federal employees presently working without pay will continue to do so.


“Disturbingly, President Donald Trump called for this shutdown more than 25 times and now has gotten what he wanted,” stated Congressman Jimmy Panetta (D-CA) in a released statement.

Congressman Jimmy Panetta (D-CA)

Panetta further explained. “Decisively, Congressional Democrats offered multiple proposals to keep the government open, including one that passed the Senate unanimously, and all of which included funding for strong, sensible, and effective border security, not an ineffective and expensive wall.”

Some of the state and federal government employees includes forest marshals, federal agents, Transportation Security Administration (TSA) employees, and many others.

According to the Congressman Panetta, over 39,000 government employees in California will be forced to go without pay over the holidays with a nationwide tally of 380,000 federal workers furloughed, and 420,000 employees who are working without pay. These numbers include the fact that almost one-third of all federal employees are veterans.

Food and housing shortage at risk for millions

A month ago, the Trump Administration announced that it would push for more stringent laws for those in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) formerly known as food stamps. Now, able-bodied adults without dependents must work 20 hours a week in order to continue receiving their benefits.

Along with SNAP recipients, poor families that rely on subsidized housing and the governmental food and nutritional programs such as WIC, are not sure if they will receive benefits in February. Even employees who work at welfare offices are also affected.

New Jersey resident, Kashanda Brown, is a beneficiary of the federal nutrition program. With attention to the government shutdown, she is uncertain know what the future holds

“I came to apply for emergency assistance, but with the government shutdown that’s going [on], I’m being told that we won’t be able to get food stamps for [the] next month,” Brown said. “What am I supposed to do to provide for myself for food? That leaves me with my back against the wall and I feel as though that’s why people go home and go back to their criminal lifestyle.”

Brown who just came home from prison further stated. “I feel like the president is not looking at that aspect, because it’s hard enough out here without enough jobs, and the things that’s going on. He wants to put up this wall and he’s crying about this wall, but people are not going to come through a wall, they’re going to go underground.”

While those who barely make enough for livable wages or depend on social programs for housing and food, legislators are still on the bankroll. Last December, when the closures began, newly elected Congressional official, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez suggested that congress should go unpaid too in a Twitter post.

Like other officials, Ocasio-Cortez is still collecting a check, while legislatures sit in a stalemate with President Donald Trump. Meanwhile, trash accumulates near the waste receptacles of the White House because federal sanitation offices are shuttered.

Jesse Shramenko covers social justice issues and politics.

 

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