Trump Forces Federal Employees To Work Without Pay
Pelosi On Trump: Maybe he thinks workers can just 'Ask their father for more money.' Crooks and Liars: "Donald Trump just walked out on a 'negotiation' with Democratic leaders in what appears to be a staged stunt to pretend he cares about reopening government. After the walkout, leaders stepped to the microphone for comment. First up: Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who placed the entitled, spoiled child named Donald Trump in the proper frame. 'Our meeting did not last long,' Pelosi told reporters, "But it is so sad that in a matter of hours, or just a few days, many people, federal workers, will not be receiving their paychecks.' She then ticked off all of the prices workers will pay for Trump's petulant fury: Downgraded credit ratings, paying their mortgages, their car payment, and everything else people depend on their wages to cover. 'The president thinks maybe they could just ask their father for more money, but they can't,' she continued, dropping the hammer on Trump. 'I will say this, if you don't understand the income insecurity, then you would have a policy that takes pride in saying I'm going to keep government shut down for months or years unless you totally agree to my position.'"
Air Safety Threatened By Shutdown
How is the shutdown affecting America? Let us count the ways. NPR: "The Transportation Security Administration is part of the Department of Homeland Security. Many of its workers considered 'essential,' so many are working without pay — though a greater number than usual have been calling in sick. So far, lines at airport security have not been significantly longer. TSA employees are among the lowest-paid federal workers. 'If there's no check on the 26th, I have no idea what we're going to do,' 36-year-old Jacinda, whose husband is a TSA officer in Portland, told NPR. "Our rent is due, the electric bill is due, our cellphones are now past due. ... I'm scared and I'm trying to be OK because I can't be sad every day for my kids, and I can't be stressed out because it affects how I parent." She said her husband is stressed out too — and that he's been given instructions on how to file for unemployment, though he's still working 40 hours a week. Also affected: air traffic controllers, who are working unpaid. 'It's a very high-stress job and you need to be on your game at all times,' says Mick Devine of the National Air Traffic Controllers Association. 'There is a concern that as this goes on the human factors aspect of this shutdown will take a toll on the psyche and concentration level of our members.' Many planes are not being inspected and pilot training is not being certified, says Capt. Dennis Tajer, a pilot for American Airlines and a spokesman for the Allied Pilots Association. That's because many of the FAA safety inspectors aren't working."
Veterans Bear Brunt Of Shutdown
America's veterans said to be disproportionately affected by government shutdown. ABC: "As the partial government shutdown continues for a third week, veterans groups are sounding the alarm because of what they say is the disproportionate impact on America's veterans and a growing fear that financial uncertainty could lead to self-harm. An estimated one-third of the federal workforce is made up of veterans, according to the Office of Personnel Management, meaning that more than 250,000 veterans are not currently receiving paychecks. 'This shutdown has consequences that go beyond loss of pay,' the Union Veterans Council said in a statement this week. 'Financial instability is one of the main cause of suicides among the veterans’ community. These hard-working men and women who sacrificed so much for their country should not have their families held hostage by lawmakers that cannot relate to living paycheck to paycheck.' Edward M. Canales is a local union president with the American Federation of Government Employees and a veteran liaison officer who serves as a resource to veterans working in the U.S. Bureau of Prisons west of the Mississippi River."
Shutdown May Force U.S. Credit Downgrade
Fitch warns of U.S. credit rating downgrade as shutdown continues. Fortune: "The U.S. is slated to hit its debt ceiling on March 1 if the government doesn’t take action. In the event the debt ceiling is not raised, the U.S. government would be legally banned from borrowing money to pay financial obligations. The only way to pay those debt obligations, then, would come byway of cash in the U.S. treasury. A protracted government shutdown could have a profound impact on the debt ceiling and could ultimately push the U.S. into default if the debt ceiling isn’t handled. And that has concerned Fitch. 'If this shutdown continues to March 1 and the debt ceiling becomes a problem several months later, we may need to start thinking about the policy framework, the inability to pass a budget… and whether all of that is consistent with triple-A,' McCormack said, according to Reuters."
EPA Loosens Regulation Of Air Pollutants
This EPA rule change could kill thousands. Common Dreams: "While Americans were quietly preparing to ring in the New Year, the EPA gave families a deadly present to start the year off wrong. On December 28, the Environmental Protection Agency announced a proposal that would effectively weaken the Mercury and Air Toxics Standards (MATS), which protect American families from mercury and other harmful air pollutants emitted by power plants. The EPA 'proposes to determine that it is not ‘appropriate and necessary’ to regulate' these emissions, the EPA wrote in a statement. This means that the regulations will lose the necessary legal mechanism that actually enables them to actually be enforced. These regulations save a lot of lives — 11,000 every year, according to the EPA’s own data — and they prevent 130,000 asthma attacks annually. These regulations save a lot of lives — 11,000 every year, according to the EPA’s own data — and they prevent 130,000 asthma attacks annually. Stripping this regulatory power virtually guarantees more asthma attacks and more preventable deaths. For families, those aren’t just numbers. At any age, exposure to even small amounts of mercury can lead to serious health problems. The worst health impacts include irreparable brain development defects in babies and young children, and cancer, heart disease, lung disease, and premature death among people of all ages. Infants, young children, and pregnant mothers are particularly vulnerable to mercury — as well as to arsenic, lead, dioxin, and acid gases, which are also regulated by MATS."