Week Ending January 11, 2019

Efforts to end partial government shutdown continue to fall short.

  • President Donald Trump’s Shutdown Continues
  • Shutdown Undermines Public Health, Nutrition Protections and More

President Donald Trump’s Shutdown Continues

On Dec. 21, President Donald Trump shut down nine federal agencies after Congress rejected his demands for $5.7 billion in funding for a border wall. As a result, millions of Americans are being denied critical public services and nearly 800,000 public service workers and their families are directly affected by the shutdown, including many AFSCME members. None of these dedicated employees will be paid until the shutdown ends, putting many families at risk of financial ruin. The shutdown is also jeopardizing some state employees working in positions funded by federal grants; they may be furloughed without pay if their employers are unwilling or unable to cover the loss of federal funds.

AFSCME is calling on the Senate Republicans and Trump to accept legislation passed by the House that would immediately reopen the government at funding levels previously agreed to on a bipartisan basis, allowing federal employees to get back to work while negotiations continue over the issue of border security. The legislation includes language originally advocated by AFSCME ensuring that any federally funded state and local workers furloughed during the shutdown are provided back pay along with furloughed federal employees.

Unfortunately, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) is refusing to allow a vote on the funding legislation passed by the House. Senate Democrats are trying to force a vote by blocking consideration of any other bills on the Senate floor until McConnell relents. Trump, having stated that he is “proud to shut down the government,” is threatening to veto any legislation that does not include funding for his border wall.

What You Need to Know: AFSCME President Lee Saunders has denounced Trump’s willingness to endanger the well-being of public service workers and their families over his demands for a border wall, noting that it “shows a blatant lack of respect for the service of the people who keep our communities safe, healthy and strong.” Saunders, AFSCME members, and other unions representing public sector workers and those affected by the shutdown, held a rally in front of the White House on Jan. 10 to draw attention to the harm being done to public employees and their families, and to demand an end to the shutdown.


The House of Representatives has passed emergency legislation to reopen and fund the federal government. Unfortunately, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) refuses to bring it up for a vote in the Senate.

Please call your senators and urge them to end President Donald Trump’s government shutdown. Let’s put people back to work!


Shutdown Undermines Public Health, Nutrition Protections and More

An inherent function of government is protecting the public’s health, but as the Trump shutdown continues beyond two weeks, essential federal work to keep our water and food safe is threatened by the staff furloughs. The Food and Drug Administration has suspended all routine food inspections because it has been forced to furlough a significant number of inspectors. The Environmental Protection Agency has furloughed more than 13,000 workers, which means the agency’s capacity to ensure safe drinking water has been nearly eliminated.

What You Need to Know: If the shutdown extends into February, federal nutrition programs, including school lunch and school breakfast, will halt, causing grave harm to children in need. The shutdown also is having a wide and growing impact on many other essential services and programs, including those affecting homebuyers and renters, taxpayer assistance, export services, small business, consumer protections, law enforcement, National Parks, and more.

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