The president’s chief economic adviser is trying to spin the government shutdown as a kind of extended Christmas vacation for federal workers.
“Huge share of government workers were going to take vacation days, say between Christmas and New Year’s. And then we have a shutdown and so they can’t go to work, and so then they have the vacation. But they don’t have to use their vacation days,” Kevin Hassett said in a January 10th interview with PBS NewsHour. “And then they come back. And they get their back pay. Then they’re, in some sense, they’re better off.”
But not all government employees are home on furloughs. Many are still in the office, working without pay. Some expect to receive back pay when the government reopens. But many government workers, like contractors, don’t expect back pay.
Charities in the U.S. are now organizing food donations specifically for people impacted by the shutdown.
On January 12th in the Washington, D.C. area, Capitol Area Food Bank set up five locations where government workers could collect food boxes and produce. At one location, more than four hundred people lined up to pick up food.
VICE News asked some of them to what it feels like to be shut down.
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