President Donald Trump has suggested his shutdown could last “for months or even a year or longer” due to his insistence on extorting taxpayer money for a border wall that the American public overwhelmingly opposes—one that he swore Mexico would pay for. The new Democratic House majority passed legislation to reopen the government, but there is no indication that the Republican-controlled Senate will agree to end this impasse soon. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has voiced his refusal to bring legislation to reopen the government to the Senate floor despite the fact that the chamber passed a similar deal unanimously just three weeks ago.
Because of the shutdown, nearly 800,000 federal workers have either been furloughed from their jobs without pay or been required to stay on the job without pay. As the shutdown drags into its third week, federal employees across the country are missing out on more than $2 billion in total for each pay period that they go without a paycheck. Federal employees have generally received backpay after previous government shutdowns ended. But employees of federal contractors—typically low-wage roles—are much less likely to receive backpay. This means that these workers will not only suffer financial stress but also permanent monetary losses. As Trump continues to rationalize his shutdown by stoking fear, he is harming the very people who protect this country. CAP 1/7/19