Friday means payday for many American workers, but because of the government shutdown, that's not the case for furloughed federal employees. Though Congress voted to award these employees back pay once the shutdown ends, the bills are coming due now.
On Friday, BuzzFeed's Evan McMorris-Santoro reports that food charity services are nervous that they'll soon see an uptick in federal employees asking for help with food. "We’re extremely worried about what’s going to happen to the furloughed federal workers," Feeding America spokesperson Ross Fraser told BuzzFeed. "People are going to be scrambling." The Washington Post reports that seven federal workers applied for food aid with Nourish Now, and there were undoubtedly more at other D.C.-area food banks. Republicans and Democrats have been meeting to discuss how to end the shutdown and raise the debt ceiling. If no deal is reached, though, furloughed workers living paycheck-to-paycheck could face real family problems.
But even for those not struggling with food, the bills on mortgages and credit cards will keep coming. An executive at Census Federal Credit Union told The Washington Post that the company had seen an uptick in requests to skip a payment on their bills until the next paycheck comes in. The Miami Herald notes that furloughed workers without extensive savings have resorted to taking out loans in the meantime.
We've looked at the lighter aspects of how frustrated federal workers are dealing with the shutdown, but these could quickly turn into more than just some silly jokes. At least, some members of Congress are afraid they will, as The National Review's Jonathan Strong reports:
One final note: If no deal is reached, many federal workers will miss their first paycheck today. Lawmakers are not taking the issue lightly, and one step they have already taken is to beef up security at their district offices, fearing an onslaught of angry federal employees. That could add pressure on House Republicans already feeling the heat.
It's a fascinating insight into lawmakers' mindsets from The National Review, which has had notably excellent sourcing among conservative Republicans during the shutdown fight.
But Florida Rep. Ted Yoho is not one of the Republicans feeling that heat. Although he and every other member of Congress voted last week to award back pay to furloughed workers, on Thursday Yoho said he doesn't think they deserve any money for not working. "Well, when we voted on that, they were supposed to come back to work as part of that deal," Yoho said at a telephone town hall meeting. "I agree 100 percent with you. If they're not working, they shouldn't get paid." It should be some comfort to food banks that at least Yoho's vision is not coming true.