As the federal government shutdown continues, federal workers who have been required to show up anyway just missed their first check.
To be clear, federal workers will still get a check — just not one capable of putting money in the bank.
Rep. Mark Pocan (D-Wisconsin) — one of the co-chairs of the Congressional Progressive Caucus — posted a photo of a check a federal air traffic controller received during the shutdown. The amount listed on the check? $0.00.
“Just finished meeting with Megan – an air traffic controller from Wisconsin – to talk about the impacts of the government shutdown,” Pocan tweeted. “She brought along a coworker’s pay stub – one just like those that many federal workers will see. We need to end the #TrumpShutdown now!”
Just finished meeting with Megan – an air traffic controller from Wisconsin – to talk about the impacts of the government shutdown.
— Rep. Mark Pocan (@repmarkpocan) January 10, 2019
Air traffic controllers are just one of the hundreds of thousands of federal workers who have been required to come to work anyway during the shutdown due to the “essential” nature of their jobs. Like air traffic controllers, Transportation Security Administration (TSA) officers are also required to come to work without pay, as the Department of Homeland Security, which oversees the TSA, is shut down until President Trump signs a funding bill into law.
However, some TSA officers are already quitting due to the shutdown, according to the union representing TSA workers.
“Every day I’m getting calls from my members about their extreme financial hardships and need for a paycheck. Some of them have already quit and many are considering quitting the federal workforce because of this shutdown,” Hydrick Thomas, president of the TSA council of the American Federation of Government Employees, said in a public statement. “The loss of officers, while we’re already shorthanded, will create a massive security risk for American travelers since we don’t have enough trainees in the pipeline or the ability to process new hires.”
Trump has insisted that he won’t sign any funding bill that doesn’t include at least $5.7 billion for a border wall, despite both houses of Congress passed a complete funding bill to his desk weeks ago. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-New York) urged Trump in his response to this week’s Oval Office address to reopen the government and let federal workers receive their check while continuing negotiations over immigration and the border.
Tom Cahill is a contributor for Grit Post who covers political and economic news. He lives in Bend, Oregon. Send him an email at tom DOT v DOT cahill AT gmail DOT com.