While the longest Government shutdown in American history may be over after 36 days, collectively, government employees still missed several paycheques and are accordingly still feeling the effects of the shutdown. I sit down with Lucille Rigor, an employee in the State Department who was furloughed during the shutdown and will talk to her about her experience.
Q: How long have you been furloughed?
A: 4 weeks; no it wasn’t worth it since we are still where we began and Trump is still threatening to shut down again if he doesn’t get his wall. This however, isn’t the first time that I have been furloughed – during Obama’s tenure as president there was a furlough stint as well.
Q: How do you compare, relative to other government employees?
A: At least our housing is provided, as domestic federal employees do not get housing provided, so we did not have to worry about rent. Additionally, my husband was still working so there was still income coming into the house.
Q: Do you believe that the shutdown worth it?
A: No, I don’t believe the shutdown was worth it at all. Disregarding Politics, I think 800,000 employees are furloughed or are not even receiving pay. We need to be able to do our jobs so both the government and the United States runs smoothly. A lot of money is going to be lost as a result of this shutdown.
“800,000 employees are furloughed or are not even receiving pay.”
Q: How was this shutdown as compared to others like when Obama shutdown the government for healthcare in 2014?
A: This shutdown was longer than Obama, so the missing paycheque was harder. I had to start looking into creative ways to make up for the missing cash like digging into savings, using credit cards, and getting help from family
Q: How were you and your family affected by the shutdown?
A: As I said before, I am lucky that I work overseas so I don’t need to worry about paying rent, but I do have colleagues and friends that have to be concerned about if they can afford to pay rent, which is something they wouldn’t be concerned about at all.
While the shutdown did eventually end on January 24th, it seems as if it was all for nothing. Trump did not receive his wall, entire government agencies like the Environmental Protection Agency and the Food Stamps program nearly went bankrupt. As the daughter of two federal employees, I can only hope that the current administration realises how dire of a mistake it was to suspend the government for such a long period of time and that in the future, compromises on both sides of the house will try to be made and actual negotiations will be accomplished.