WASHINGTON (Gray DC) -- There’s no obvious end in sight on day 18 of the federal government shutdown. Hundreds of thousands of government workers – many without work, and all without pay -- may not get back to their jobs this week.
While Congress remains divided over President Donald Trump’s proposed expansion of the Mexican border wall, furloughed government workers in the nation’s capital say all they can do is pray.
“Have you ever gone through a shutdown like this before?” we asked furloughed food service worker Jackie Sizemore. “Not like this one,” she said, “we can’t pay rent, we can’t pay other bills, we need food, pretty soon we may not have shelter.”
Sizemore and dozens of her fellow union members are working together to apply for unemployment and guide each other through uncertain times ahead. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) addressed the meeting, and told us Congress shouldn’t take up any other issue until the political stalemate is resolved.
“The president’s temper tantrum, and bragging about how he’s proud to shut the government down, and I don’t think the president understands how many people get hurt by this,” said Brown, “we need to fix this, this week.”
We asked Brown if he would consider giving the president what he wants so workers could begin collecting paychecks again. He said the country doesn’t want a wall, and, “what the president wants today he may not want tomorrow.”
Brown’s senate colleague – Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) -- said there’s room for compromise.
He sees a potential deal centering around border security funding and a path to citizenship for those who came to the county as children.
“Let’s roll up our sleeves and have a serious negotiation,” he said, “when the president comes out publicly to support a compromise, which I hope at some point he will, and the democrats will I think that will be locked down.”
Portman said he’s opposed to shutdowns and will re-introduce a bill he previously proposed to prevent them from occurring.
If the shutdown continues through Saturday, it will be the longest in the country’s history. President Trump is scheduled to address the nation Tuesday night.
Sen. Portman said he will ask to have his pay withheld during the shutdown. Sen. Brown said he hasn’t decided whether he will take that step this time, as he has in the past.