US partial government shutdown becomes longest ever

Vastavam web: A partial U.S. government shutdown over President Donald Trump’s demand for $5.7 billion to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border entered its 22nd day on Saturday, making it the longest shuttering of federal agencies in U.S. history, with no end in sight. Trump, holed up in the White House with Congress adjourned for the weekend, warned of a much lengthier impasse and blamed the Democrats. “They’re the ones that are holding it up,” he said during a telephone interview with Fox News on Saturday night. “It would take me 15 minutes to get a deal done, and everybody can go back to work.”

Federal workers affected missed their first paychecks on Friday, heightening concerns about mounting financial pressures on employees, including air traffic controllers and airport security officials who continue to work without pay. Roughly 800,000 federal workers did not receive paychecks that would have gone out on Friday. Some have resorted to selling their possessions or posting appeals on online fundraising sites to help pay their bills.

A union that represents thousands of air traffic controllers sued the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) on Friday, saying it had violated federal wage law by failing to pay workers. It is at least the third lawsuit filed by unions on behalf of unpaid workers. The head of the U.S. Secret Service, which is responsible for protecting Trump, has warned employees that financial stress can lead to depression and anxiety. “Keep an eye out for warning signs of trouble,” Director R.D. “Tex” Alles wrote in a memo seen.

The FAA, which oversees air traffic controllers, said on Saturday it had seen no unusual rates of sick leave among its controllers and no disruptions to air traffic control operations. To support its workforce, the TSA said it was processing pay for employees who worked on the first day of the shutdown and announced $500 bonuses for uniformed screening officers.