After the federal government shutdown was lifted temporarily – for three weeks – AFSCME President Lee Saunders today demanded that the government be reopened permanently.
“The American people deserve a permanent solution now with all the vital services our communities rely on restored immediately. Anything less weakens our country and shows an unconscionable disregard for the livelihoods of dedicated public service workers and their families,” he said in a statement.
President Donald Trump’s surprise move to accept a deal today to reopen the government temporarily came one day after the Senate failed to pass two bills aimed at ending the shutdown – the longest in American history. A total of 800,000 workers were either furloughed or forced to work without pay as the shutdown stretched into its second month, increasing the financial burden on working families and putting unnecessary strain on the economy.
Affected workers included AFSCME members like Michele Kennedy Kouadio. “Federal employees work for the president,” said Kouadio, an agricultural marketing specialist with more than four decades of public service under her belt. “We want to trust that our employer is going to take care of his employees.”
AFSCME members also marched and rallied to push for an end the shutdown.
Saunders said it was well past time to end the “unnecessary and harmful” shutdown, precipitated by Trump’s insistence on a wall along the U.S. southern border.
“We cannot allow a single divisive partisan demand to paralyze our entire country,” Saunders said. “This unprecedented brinkmanship must end.”