Federal employees in Central Oregon, at least some of them, have been out of work now for about two weeks. They can apply for unemployment, of course, but doing so will require that they look for jobs. They shouldn’t have been put in that predicament in the first place, and the problem should be solved quickly.
Just about 28,000 employees of the federal government work in Oregon, though fewer than half — about 9,600 — are in jobs affected by the federal shutdown. Workers at Veterans Administration facilities, for example, are on the job, as are airport screeners. Those with U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management jobs are currently out of work. And while all furloughed employees are going without pay, so, too are at least some of those who remain at work.
That no doubt makes it tough on families, who, under normal circumstances, would be paying rent and spending to keep food on the table.
Unfortunately, they’re not in control of their own fate. Rather, Donald Trump, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer are calling the shots right now, and it’s clear that furloughed federal workers are not uppermost in their minds.
No, they’re thinking of other things. Trump’s got his “big beautiful wall” to worry about, while Democrats are behaving as if the 2020 presidential election were next week instead of almost two years from now. It’s time they all took their heads out of the clouds. Not counting the U.S. Postal Service and the men and women serving in the armed forces, the shutdown affects some 2 million Americans and their families in one way or another.
All of them, including the 28,000 here in Oregon, have a right to expect more for the government they serve.