Black Workers Are Bearing The Brunt Of The Government Shutdown
The government shutdown is another example of Black people getting the flu while the rest of the country gets a cold.
Black people comprise 12 percent of the country’s population but are 18 percent of the federal workforce, according to the Partnership for Public Service. Three weeks after the partial government shutdown started, many of those Black federal employees are scrambling to maintain their households, The Guardian reports.
“Around here people’s families work for the government, generationally,” Kenneth Graves, a furloughed employee, told the paper. “My mom works for the government. My dad worked for the government. That’s what we always heard growing up – get a good government job.”
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At 50 years old, Lora Williams said she should be thinking about retirement. Instead, she is worried.
“I don’t have cash reserves, and I’m barely staying above water. The uncertainty is driving me crazy,” Williams said. “My mother tells me – bless her heart – there’s a bed here if you need it. I’m 50. I’m not going back to my parents’ house.”
The struggle is being felt particularly keenly in Black communities around Washington, D.C., where many residents work for the federal government in some capacity. Graves said in Maryland's Prince George’s County, one of those mostly Black areas populated by federal workers, "We’re all just sitting at home or looking for a part-time position. It’s really challenging.”
The current government shutdown will most likely be the longest ever, a title previously held by the 21-day shutdown in 1996 during the Clinton administration. The House of Representatives left work for the weekend on Friday, the 21st day of the Trump shutdown, without a solution.
Federal workers were supposed to be paid on Friday but were left empty-handed, says NBC. PBS News Hour reports 800,000 federal workers missed their bi-weekly paychecks Friday. While employees will receive back pay, federal contractors might not.
Despite the plight of federal workers, neither side is budging. President Donald Trump walked out of a meeting after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) refused to meet his funding demands for the border wall, according to KABC-TV. The president called the meeting a “waste of time,” while Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) accused Trump of throwing a “temper tantrum.”
Just left a meeting with Chuck and Nancy, a total waste of time. I asked what is going to happen in 30 days if I quickly open things up, are you going to approve Border Security which includes a Wall or Steel Barrier? Nancy said, NO. I said bye-bye, nothing else works!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 9, 2019'
Trump has continued to threaten to declare a national emergency to pull federal money allocated for other uses toward building a border wall, reports The Hill.
"If we don’t make a deal with Congress, most likely I will do that. I would actually say I would. I can’t imagine any reason why not because I’m allowed to do it. The law is 100 percent on my side," Trump told Sean Hannity on Thursday.
Despite 45’s threats, Democrats swear they will not give in. Pelosi said she would “stay firm,” reports The Washington Post.
Senator Kamala Harris (D-CA) believes Trump’s plan will fail.
“How does it end? It has to end with the government running and functioning,” Harris told Stephen Colbert. It has to end with us setting back up the government — it will not with a wall. It will not end with a wall.”
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