Shutdown stories: Federal employees share anxiety via Twitter

As the partial government shutdown heads toward day 5, federal employees and others have taken to Twitter to share their experiences via #ShutdownStories.

About 800,000 employees are affected by the partial shutdown, which began at midnight Friday and covers about 25 percent of government agencies. 

On Christmas morning, President Donald Trump said the nation needs “a wall, a fence, whatever they want to call it,” but Democrats say they will not support his calls for $5 billion for a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. 

As the standoff continued Tuesday, tweets from parents described anxiety about not being able to pay their bills, like this one from a single mother:

I am a single mother of 3 with no help. Not knowing if I can pay rent or feed my family next week is hard and all that’s on my mind this day of Christmas when I should be happy. My kids feel my anxiety too 😔 #ShutdownStories

— mj4ever (@mj4ever) December 25, 2018

And another Twitter user who worried about paying for her husband’s caregiver:

I’ve been a loyal, dedicated federal employee for almost 30 years. I ❤️ my work. I may have to terminate my husband’s caregiver because it’s so expensive, it’ll rip through any savings we have very quickly. I’m besides myself with worry this Christmas. #ShutdownStories

— AltCivilServant ✊🏼🌊🙄🌈🌲✌🏼 (@AltCivilServant) December 25, 2018

Others said they were concerned about getting needed health care:   

I am a disabled veteran who has been waiting for service connected surgery for over a year (yes it takes that long), can’t get my final approval because of Govn’t shutdown. This delay is making my future health care costs more expensive for all taxpayers. #ShutdownStories

— 🦓🌊Melissa🌊🦓 #VetsResistSquadron (@MsPopRouge) December 25, 2018

For one granddaughter, the government closure meant her relatives did not have their source of livelihood:

My grandparents have the cafeteria in the Federal Trade Commission building. They wanted to come visit us for Christmas but now they can’t because they aren’t sure when they will be able to open again & can’t afford to travel that far. This isn’t fair. #ShutdownStories

— Chrisoula James 🇬🇷 (@chrisoulajames) December 24, 2018

And those with loved ones serving in the military or as law enforcement tweeted about doing dangerous work for no or deferred pay:

My husband is federal law enforcement. He had the weekend off but now has to head back to work on Christmas morning with no indication of when/if he will be paid for providing crucial border security. We blame you @realDonaldTrump#ShutdownStories#TrumpShutDown

— Maria Ortega (@shamapoo) December 25, 2018

My husband is active duty Coast Guard. Everyone thinks the military is getting paid during the shutdown, but the Coast Guard is facing no pay on the 1st due to being DHS and not DoD. We live in NYC, pay over $2K/month in rent, have a toddler and one on the way.#ShutdownStories

— Katy⚓ (@katyjb88) December 24, 2018

One user expressed gratitude his car payment had been deferred but indicated he might be evicted if the shutdown drags on:

#ShutdownStories thankfully my auto loan was able to defer my truck payment in Jan so I won’t default on it an other bills this month. If no backpay, I’ll likely be evicted Feb 1.

— Ernie Johnson (@SciFiCowboy_v2) December 25, 2018

And finally, one traveler thanked those continuing to serve the public despite the uncertainty:

Flying home on #Christmas I was speaking to TSA agent who noted he’s working for free today—on Christmas. Moreover, he doesn’t expect to receive next paycheck until after the first of the year.

Wishing a very Merry Christmas to those affected by the shutdown. #ShutdownStories

— Jason L. Campbell MD, MS (@DrJCoftheDC) December 25, 2018

More: Donald Trump makes Christmas calls to troops, denies collusion and defends shutdown stand

More: Government shutdown, day 4: Pelosi blames Trump for using ‘scare tactics’ over border wall

More: A look at what public services will – and won’t – be interrupted during the government shutdown

Follow Carolyn McAtee Cerbin on Twitter: @carolyncerbin

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