January 16th, 2019 marks the 26th day of the United States government shut down. Not only are 800,000 federal workers and contract workers are going without pay, but their families are struggling too. January 21st marked the first missed paycheck for these workers, and many of them do not have enough savings to tide them over. Military members are also not being paid for the first time ever in U.S. history. According to the New York Times, a typical federal worker has missed $5,000 in pay from the shutdown so far. This money is used for mortgages, medical bills, house expenses and simply putting food on the table.
This is a bigger deal than just missing paychecks, though. This means that people are not going into work because the offices are closed. For example, employees of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) returned to work on Tuesday without pay. The employees were called back to work as the beginning of tax season approaches. The Food and Drug Administration has also been affected leaving about forty percent of its staff furloughed. Without the FDA up and running with full power, how will food be deemed safe? Under their original shutdown plan, most routine food-safety inspections were stopped. These are essential institutions that are unable to operate at full power and are unable to assist the American people with the issues they cover.
Federal agencies, their employees, and the families are facing hardship because of this government shutdown. The part that worries most Americans is that there is no foreseeable end in sight. If you know someone who is impacted by this shutdown, reach out and offer as much help as you can. Offer to assist them in contacting the correct agencies to find help and be there for them during this hard time.