There have been some frightening indications that this partial Government shutdown won’t be ending any time soon. The most recent moves among the White House, Congress, and State and local governments is to find ways to mitigate the impact of the shutdown.
The first indicator, I posted yesterday — Acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney is asking Agencies to provide him with the list of impacts of another two months more shutdown.
The second indicator is the proposed bill by some Congressmen to push for immediate pay for those Federal workers who are working without pay. Again, a recognition that funding for the Agencies affected by the shutdown won’t be coming soon, so let’s find a way to cope. Just as frightening is the call by Federal employee unions to “pay our workers NOW”; that is, support this bill.
The third indicator of the “normalization” of the shutdown is the move by States, local governments, and nonprofits to provide aid to Federal workers and contractors affected by the shutdown. It started with the pop up food pantries targeted to feds. It’s expanded to banks and credit unions offering 60 day interest-free loans and forbearance on mortgages and other recurring payments. The Washington Post reports that the District of Columbia is offering no interest loans to Federal workers and is acting to prevent landlords from evicting Federal workers.
These moves are noble but they miss the point. Crucial work is not being performed. Federal prosecutors are not able to collect evidence to convict accused criminals. Federal court backlogs are growing. The hurricane model is not being updated. Preparations for the 2020 Census are halted. Taxpayers are unable to get help filing their taxes. Work to prevent forest fires in California is not being done. I could go on and on.
My work is not as urgent as those listed above, but it is valuable. I desperately want to return back to work. This shutdown madness needs to end.