Right now, though, nearly 800,000 employees at federal agencies around the country are out of work, furloughed because of the shutdown. I know this is causing great hardship for many of those I represent. After all, along with the rest of the federal workforce, they have had their pay frozen for the past three years. Not only that, all of them had to undergo unpaid furlough days earlier this year because of sequestration. When federal workers are not allowed to work the safety of our food, water and air is compromised, school lunch programs are endangered, and revenue goes uncollected increasing the multi-billion dollar tax gap. A government shutdown puts us all at risk.
When I look at my members, I see middle-class working people subject to the same kinds of financial pressures most Americans feel. They pay rent, have mortgages, kids in college, elderly parents to care for and all the everyday bills people regularly incur. They don’t deserve to have their paychecks taken from them this way. They want to work.