An untold number of federal workers could soon find themselves struggling to put food on the table as a result of a government shutdown no longer claimed, but wholly owned by President Donald Trump.
Democrats in Congress estimate the number of workers having to forego a paycheck during the shutdown to be around 800,000.
Trump is holding their salaries hostage, in effect, to pressure Senate Democrats to agree to spend $5 billion on a border wall to keep out migrants from Mexico and Central America.
Most federal workers reportedly received paychecks this week, but going forward, they face the dire prospect of having to do without ann income until the standoff between the president and Democrats in Congress is resolved.
Meanwhile, as government workers scramble to figure out how to pay for their groceries and make the monthly mortgage on their homes, two of the president’s palatial manses are also in the news — but for very different reasons.
Trump’s summer residence in Bedminster, New Jersey made headlines earlier this year because of allegations that it employed undocumented workers.
Reports this weekend said the FBI and authorities in New Jersey are investigating whether management at Trump’s New Jersey golf club actually provided immigrants employed with fake documents to make it seem as if they had legal employment status when they did not.
The Washington Post interviewed a lawyer for two women who worked at the Bedminster golf resort. The attorney said he met with investigators from the state attorney general’s office and handed over fraudulent green cards and Social Security numbers that club management gave to his clients. The story was first reported on Saturday by the New York Daily News.
As ThinkProgress reported earlier this month, the two workers — Victorina Morales and Sandra Diaz — publicly declared that they had worked without proper documentation at the Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, New Jersey.
“The important point that I think has been left out is that Americans think these hard-working women get these jobs on their own — that’s not what happened,” attorney Anibal Romero told The Post. “People employed by the golf club recruited her and made her the phony documents.”
The irony of the story can be lost on no one, since Trump since taking office has been been doggedly pursued every avenue to expel workers without legal status in the United States.
It is also a winter of discontent, meanwhile, at Trump’s winter residence at Mar-a-Lago. The president appears likely to miss the New Year’s Eve festivities over concern about the terrible optics of being seen partying while presiding over the government shutdown he orchestrated.
The president is charging his guests $1,000 per head for the fancy soiree, many of whom attend just for the chance to rub shoulders with the leader of the free world. Now aware that Trump’s attendance is in doubt many reportedly are ditching this year’s event.
The celebration is being financed in part with taxpayer funds, which are being used to pay for Secret Service and tens of thousands of dollars to pitch tents used at the fancy gathering.
Tents at Mar a Lago https://t.co/amhcoNIHAV
— Eric Lipton (@EricLiptonNYT) December 27, 2018
There will be no such extravagances for furloughed federal workers across the country of course. The administration *helpfully* provided suggestions recently for how they might barter out their services performing odd jobs in lieu of paying the rent.
Cash earned from odd jobs, of course, won’t come close to meeting the cost of admission to Trump’s glitzy party. And it definitely won’t satisfy banks collecting the monthly mortgage.
Feds, here are sample letters you may use as a guide when working with your creditors during this furlough. If you need legal advice please consult with your personal attorney. https://t.co/t6h6OzALsS
— OPM (@USOPM) December 27, 2018
It’s a let-them-eat-cake moment, coming as thousands of federal workers struggle to figure out how they will make ends meet, as the shutdown drags on into a second week.