Week of January 21-25, 2019

Senate Rejects Wall; Congress Reopens Government.

Government Shutdown Ends

After 35 days, the longest shutdown in U.S. history has ended. The agreement reached between President Donald Trump and congressional leaders will reopen the government through Feb. 15, allowing public employees to return to work while Congress and the White House negotiate on the issue of border security. Employees that were furloughed or working without pay during the shutdown will be provided back pay. Prior to reaching this agreement, Trump insisted on keeping the government closed unless Congress provided $5.7 billion to construct a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.

AFSCME President Lee Saunders argued that Trump’s willingness to shut down the government showed “a blatant lack of respect for the service of the people who keep our communities safe, healthy and strong.” AFSCME worked throughout the shutdown to put pressure on elected officials to reopen the government. AFSCME and our allies in the labor movement held repeated protests outside the White House and on Capitol Hill to draw attention to the immense harm being done to public employees and the government programs relied on by the American people. Additionally, AFSCME members throughout the country reached out to members of Congress and the White House to make their voices heard.

While the agreement provides short-term funding to reopen the government, another shutdown remains possible if negotiations on border security are unsuccessful. AFSCME will continue to make the case that shutting down the government over policy disputes is self-defeating. This shutdown wasted taxpayer dollars, damaged government programs and services, and harmed public employees and their families, but did nothing to resolve the underlying dispute over the construction of a border wall.

What You Need to KnowWhile the shutdown has ended, the agreement only provides funding for government programs through February 15. AFSCME will be fighting to ensure that the government remains open and that public employees stay on the job.

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