The United States Government and its hard-working employees — many of them proud union members — must not be held hostage to an erratic president’s recklessness and irresponsibility.
But for the past 25 days and counting, that’s exactly what’s happened.
As a result, OPCMIA members working on infrastructure projects are being harmed. As the American Society of Civil Engineers reported on January 10th:
As of now, many federal construction programs at the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) have been directly affected by this shutdown. State DOTs across the country, uncertain of future federal funding, have been hesitant to authorize highway construction projects planned for 2019. For example, the Oklahoma Department of Transportation postponed accepting bids for approximately $137 million in projects because the state is uncertain of whether the federal share will be reimbursed.
Hit even harder are the more than 420,000 federal employees being forced to work without pay, including — ironically — 54,000 Customs and Border Protection agents and officers, 53,000 TSA airport screeners, 42,000 Coast Guard employees, and more than 41,000 federal law enforcement and corrections officers. Plus, another 380,000 federal workers are furloughed without pay. Contrary to anti-government myth-makers, most federal employees live paycheck to paycheck and many are in dire straits today.
And you don’t have to be a federal employee or a building trades worker to suffer from the shutdown — all Americans are hurt. The safety of our food is at risk because the U.S. Food & Drug Administration has stopped inspecting fruit, vegetables and seafood. Entrepreneurs aren’t receiving the Small Business Administration loans they need to start their companies. Taxpayers aren’t getting their refunds. And if the shutdown continues into March, families will go hungry because Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits will cease.
But above all, what adds insult to these very real injuries is the fact that this shutdown should never have happened in the first place.
President Trump had two years of one-party Republican government to fund his border wall. It’s not the Democrats’ fault he didn’t get his wish. Think about it: It’s only now that Democrats have taken back the House that the president decided to hold America hostage to get his prized wall.
This is no way to run any country, let alone the greatest democracy in the world. I urge OPCMIA members to do your part to stop this idiocy now. Call Congress at (866) 803-8830 to speak with all three of your lawmakers. Call the number three times: Twice for both Senators and once for your Representative. Tell them to fully fund the government today!
Daniel E. Stepano