Federal workers, government contractors, and the unions that represent them rallied in Washington, D.C. on Thursday to pressure President Donald Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) to end the ongoing government shutdown, which is just days away from becoming the longest in U.S. history.
— PFAW (@peoplefor) January 10, 2019
As the president continues his "temper tantrum" over $5.7 billion in funding for his "ridiculous" wall along the U.S.-Mexico border—which Democratic lawmakers and the majority of Americans have consistently opposed—the 800,000 federal employees who aren't getting paid during the shutdown are calling on the GOP-led Senate to pass spending legislation approved by the Democratic House to reopen the government, with or without Trump's support.
Workers, union leaders, and members of Congress gathered at AFL-CIO's D.C. headquarter to deliver speeches, and marched to the White House carrying signs that said #StopTheShutdown and "Congress: Do your job so we can do ours."
"Stop holding 800,000 federal employees and their families hostage!" one employee from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) said in a rally speech that captured the demonstrators' main message to Trump and McConnell.
The Republican Senate majority leader has been accused of subservience to the president and has refused to allow senators to vote on a bill to end the shutdown, despite frustration even among members of his own party.
We stand in solidarity with our friends at @AFLCIO, @AFSCME, @SEIU, @AFGENational, & all the government employees taking to the streets in DC today to protest the continuation one of the longest federal government shutdowns in history over a fake border crisis. #StopTheShutdown pic.twitter.com/f0jquoSXqC
— Voto Latino (@votolatino) January 10, 2019
— Friends of the Earth (@foe_us) January 10, 2019
#StopTheShutdown: Hundreds of federal workers are lining up along the north fence. The front of the march is chanting “pay the workers, furlough Trump.”
Trump, meanwhile, is out visiting the border. pic.twitter.com/Zcv1OWRy3p
— Alejandro Alvarez (@aletweetsnews) January 10, 2019
In addition to the main event in D.C., federal employees and unions also organized solidarity demonstrations in other cities across the country:
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— AFL-CIO (@AFLCIO) January 10, 2019
— Florida AFL-CIO (@FLAFLCIO) January 10, 2019
Some federal lawmakers outraged by what many are calling the #TrumpShutdown joined the protests. Addressing the rally in D.C., Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) said, "It is unbelievable that we have a president who is prepared to deny basic governmental services to millions of Americans who need those services, so today we say to this president, 'Grow up, do your job, end this shutdown.'"
— ABC News (@ABC) January 10, 2019
While workers rallied in Washington and beyond, Trump traveled to Texas to promote his wall proposal amid mounting concerns that he will declare a national emergency even though legal experts say he has no constitutional authority to use such a declaration as a way to redirect military funds for a project not approved by Congress.
AFL-CIO president Richard Trumka declared at the D.C. demonstration on Thursday that "instead of going to the border for a photo op," the president "should be on Capitol Hill negotiating."
— PFAW (@peoplefor) January 10, 2019
Meanwhile, as the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights outlined in a tweet, "800K federal employees going without pay. An expired VAWA. Struggling Native American communities. Looming cuts to food stamps. Federal housing assistance in jeopardy. And that's just the beginning."
800K federal employees going without pay. An expired VAWA. Struggling Native American communities. Looming cuts to food stamps. Federal housing assistance in jeopardy. And that's just the beginning.
— The Leadership Conference (@civilrightsorg) January 10, 2019