Shutdown Roundup: Coast Guard Goes Without Pay For the First Time Ever, Denver Helps Feds With Their Mortgages and More
The economic impact of the shutdown is increasing.
The partial government shutdown is nearing a month in length, with agencies recalling tens of thousands of furloughed employees to come back to work without pay this week. Though an end to the appropriations impasse does not appear to be imminent, federal employees at least know they are in line for back pay once the shutdown is over due to a bill President Trump signed into law Wednesday.
At GovExec, we can't report on all aspects of the shutdown. Here is a roundup of reporting in other news outlets.
For the first time in recent American history, members of one of the military service branches are working without pay, Military.com reports. The Coast Guard's top officer, Adm. Karl Schultz, published a public letter Tuesday on social media saying that he recognizes the "anxiety and uncertainty" this situation places on the 55,000 USCG active-duty, reserve and civilian members going without pay. Schultz also wrote that he is "grateful for the outpouring of support across the country, particularly in local communities, for our men and women," and suggested that USCG members facing financial hardship can work with Coast Guard Mutual Assistance, which received a $15 million donation from USAA. Read more at Military.com
The shutdown's larger economic impact is uncertain, but experts spoke to The New York Times and said that the negative effects are already being felt on the national economy and will only get worse. The paper spoke to Ian Shepherdson, the chief economist at Pantheon Macroeconomics, who said: “The economy could easily stall in the first quarter, and then the question is what happens in the second." Michael L. Corbat, the chief executive of Citigroup, warned Monday that “the biggest risk in the global economy" is the United States "talking ourselves into a recession” by the shutdown going on longer. Read more at The New York Times.
Federal employees nationwide are feeling the economic impact, but feds working without pay in Denver are getting help from the city government with a new mortgage assistance program, according to a report on our sibling site Route Fifty. Denver Mayor Michael Hancock announced the Temporary Mortgage Assistance program this week, which will provide up to two months of assistance to help cover mortgage payments to those facing hardship. “We’re stepping up to support our federal employees where we can,” Hancock said during a press conference. Read more at Route Fifty.
One of the effects of the shutdown will be less secure federal data, according to furloughed federal IT workers who spoke to The Washington Post. The paper spoke to several employees working in government cybersecurity, with one furloughed fed saying: “We’ve never tested the limits like this before and I don’t know if they’re equipped to handle it.” A former Homeland Security official also said that hackers are champing at the bit during a shutdown because of decreased IT security. “Cyber attackers aren't taking a shutdown. They're taking advantage of the shutdown,” Bruce McConnell said. Read more at The Washington Post.