US government shutdown: Workers tell their personal accounts | #TheCube

US government shutdown: Workers tell their personal accounts | #TheCube
By Seana DavisCindy Pom
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Workers told The Cube their stories as the US partial government shutdown entered its third week.


With the US government partial shutdown entering its third week, those affected continued to share their stories on social media using the hashtag 'Shutdown Stories'.

The partial shutdown has had a direct impact on around 800,000 federal employees who were working without pay or out of work during the deadlock, with Democrats and Republicans at loggerheads over $5 billion in funding for a border wall.

A National Wildlife Refuge park ranger

Joel Vos, a park ranger at the Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge, a reserve that welcomes 30,000 visitors per year, told Euronews that the management building at the 14,000-acre (56.6-square-kilometre) refuge has been closed since December 26 when "the appropriated funding ran out".

Speaking of his personal situation, Vos highlighted how the government deadlock has created "high stress at home" as he thinks about "paying bills without pay coming in". "I not only have a mortgage and normal household bills, but also a medical condition that has made medical bills arrive without knowing if I'll be able to pay them," he said.

Credit: Joel Vos
The US Fish and Wildlife Service has become understaffed during the shutdown as federal reserves run thin.Credit: Joel Vos

"For the majority of the shutdown, the main concerns come down to visitor safety, uncertain future for paychecks, the inability to provide scheduled programming, the policy that we are not to respond to public comment or questions on social media or agency email, and our inability to provide normal services to the hundreds of thousands of neighbours who visit and enjoy our Refuge," Vos said.

Credit: Joel Vos
Snow and ice have built up throughout the shutdown at the reserve.Credit: Joel Vos

Vos noted that the team was unable to clear ice and snow as it continued to build during the partial shutdown.

An Associate Geology Professor

Dr Anne Jefferson, an associate geology professor at Kent State University, Ohio, spoke to The Cube about how the US government shutdown not only affects federal workers but also has a "ripple effect", meaning she is unable to use government data sets in research or teaching.

An English adjunt professor and Airbnb host

Victoria Baldassano, an adjunt professor of English in Maryland cited low wages for fellow adjunt professors as an issue, adding that they "have to work two or three jobs in addition to teaching to make ends meet."

Baldassano also operates an Airbnb and expressed her concern over the closure of federal-run museums in the Washinton DC area, which could affect tourists booking her room. "There will be a month between the last paycheck I got and the next paycheck I get so I rely heavily on that Airbnb income," she said. "This is definitely going to affect my bottom line," she added.


Many others took to social media to give their personal accounts as the US government reached a stalemate in talks.

With Democrats reclaiming the House and Nancy Pelosi elected as house speaker on Thursday evening, the stalemate over border wall funding looked set to continue. As negotiations continued, funds for nearly a quarter of the federal government considered 'non essential' remained frozen.

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