Federal workers are suing the government for the shutdown. Heidi Burakiewicz is a union lawyer representing the workers who proclaimed, “This is not an acceptable way for any employer, let alone the US government, to treat its employees.” Some people live by the paycheck and have not shored up plenty of savings. Even as negotiations between Congress and the White House are frozen, other peoples’ lives resume and there are expenses such as buying gas incurred for going to work every day.
The American Federation of Government Employees, a union for federal workers, filed a lawsuit in the US Court of Federal Claims on the tenth day of the government shutdown. The lawsuit is for the benefit of all federal workers working without pay during the government shutdown but is legally on behalf of two plaintiffs, Grayson Sharp and Justin Tarovisky, employees who work for the Bureau of Prisoners. AFGE President, J. David Cox, said in a statement Monday that federal workers at least deserve to know when they’ll receive their next paycheck.
The union says withholding federal workers’ pay as they continue to clock in violates the Fair Labor Standards Act, a law passed during the Great Depression for the purposes of minimum wage and overtime pay. 420,000 workers are continuing their work doing essential functions in areas like law enforcement without pay. A primary agency impacted by the partial government shutdown is the Department of Homeland Security.
On Monday, House Appropriations Committee Chairwoman- designate, Nita Lowey (D-NY), introduced a continuing resolution to fund the Department of Homeland Security and a legislative finance package to fund the rest of the agencies through February 8. On Thursday, January 3, both measures will be voted on. The continuing resolution is intended to pressure Trump and Republicans to sign off and reopen the majority of the government as soon as possible. But the resolution allots $1.3 billion for the border barrier which the White House asked more than $5 billion for.
From this Thursday on, Democrats are the majority party of the House, leaving them with the upper hand in a deal to reopen the government. Nancy Pelosi, the next Speaker, says Democrats will not give in to Trump’s request for billions to fund the border barrier.
On Tuesday, President Trump criticized the latest Democratic proposal to reopen the government. President Trump firmly believes a “wall”, a new physical barrier expected to take the form of a spiked steel fence rather than a concrete wall, along the Southern border between the US and Mexico will strengthen border security like never before. Democrats again proposed a funding bill without money allocated to the border barrier. President Trump believes he has no choice but to continue with the partial government shutdown.
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