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Tuesday, February 19, 2019

As of Thursday, some federal workers have not received back pay from the first Trump government shutdown — even as a White House spokesperson says Trump is “on the verge” of initiating yet another shutdown.

The continued lack of paychecks is just one of many headaches federal employees are facing in the aftermath of Trump’s record-long, damaging 35-day shutdown.

Alfreda Dennis-Bowyer, a USDA meat inspector in Delaware, is owed $9,000 in backpay, but she only received a check for $250.

“When I saw that $250 I thought, ‘What in the world is this? Where’s the rest of my money?’” she told the Washington Post.

Dennis-Bowyer is one of thousands of federal employees who experienced delays in receiving back pay for weeks after the shutdown ended.

And the chaos is not limited to federal workers. Some contractors have not been paid for work done as far back as October 2018, and are waiting for agencies to process a backlog of invoices.

Some payment delays, the Post reports, are caused because employees cannot log on to agency networks, since passwords expired over the course of the shutdown.

“People are fatigued by the shutdown,” David Verardo, president of AFGE Local 3403, which represents employees at the National Science Foundation and other agencies, told the Post. “They’re demoralized to some extent,” he added.

The shutdown began in late December, after a tantrum-throwing Trump demanded $5.7 billion to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. Over the next 35 days, federal employees did not receive a paycheck, which forced some to worry about homelessness or visit food pantries in order to provide for their families.

In the end, Trump caved to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s demands and reopened the government with no funding for a wall.

However, the agreement only funded the government for three weeks. And on Friday morning, a White House spokesperson said, “We’re on the verge of a government shutdown again.”

While the White House went on to pre-emptively blame Democrats, a bipartisan group of members of Congress is currently working together to come up with a funding plan which includes adequate border security initiatives. Trump will have the opportunity to sign or veto whatever legislation Congress passes.

In the meantime, the back pay issues are already causing resentment and anxiety for federal workers who don’t know how they would cope with another shutdown.

Trump’s initial shutdown caused pain and hardship for 800,000 federal employees, and even Republicans thought it was a stupid idea. Yet here we are with Trump threatening to go down that chaotic, harmful road yet again.

Published with permission of The American Independent. 

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