With no agreement between Congress and the President in the ongoing dispute over funding for a border wall, hundreds of thousands of federal workers will not receive their scheduled paychecks on Friday, even though over 400,000 have had to continue working for the government, as the partial government shutdown reached 21 days.
“Let’s stop this shutdown now,” NASA engineer Steve Ching said to cheers at a rally near the White House, as federal workers rallied in Washington, D.C. on Thursday.
“We’re all wondering, how long will our families able to hold out,” Ching said, as workers from a variety of shuttered federal agencies chanted, “Back to work!” and aimed their displeasure at President Donald Trump and Republicans in Congress.
“President Trump, Senator McConnell, end this shutdown now!” thundered one union leader to cheers.
“People are being hurt,” said Sen. Ben Cardin (D-MD). “And it’s got to end now.”
No matter where federal workers were employed, there were endless stories of concern about missing a paycheck.
“There is real stress due to the uncertainty of when it will end, and having to deal with creditors/mortgage payments/etc.,” one member of the Coast Guard told me.
While most federal workers were missing a paycheck on January 11, the Coast Guard is still paid twice a month – as they hoped something might change on the shutdown before January 15.
“Trump is determined to separate working families from paychecks for his wasteful wall,” said Rep. Lloyd Doggett (D-TX).
While lawmakers in both parties agreed that Congress would – as has happened in previous shutdowns – approve back pay for federal workers, it still wasn’t clear how long the funding impasse would stretch.
“If we’re out for a long period, I wouldn’t be surprised to start seeing feds leaving government,” one worker told me.