President Donald Trump seems to have figured out a solution to the government shutdown: Just make everybody work for free.
It’s day 26 of Trump’s shutdown and the president still insists that he’ll keep the government closed until he gets over $5 billion for his stupid wall at the U.S.-Mexico border. But airplanes aren’t being inspected by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and food isn’t being inspected by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Those agencies have now ordered furloughed staff back on the job. Those staff members just won’t be getting a paycheck, much like workers at the TSA and the U.S. Coast Guard.
According to Politico, the U.S. Department of Transportation ordered over 3,800 workers from the FAA back on the job yesterday to inspect planes. One thing Politico doesn’t mention? The head of the Department of Transportation is Elaine Chao, wife of Senate Majority leader Mitch McConnell. Oddly enough, Senator McConnell has the power to reopen the government if he simply stood up to President Trump took up the bills that have already been passed by the Democrat-controlled House to fund agencies like the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). But McConnell has repeatedly refused to do that.
The FDA is also ordering some of its staff back to the office, with roughly 400 people being called in to work for free. Scott Gottlieb, the head of the FDA, tweeted yesterday that the vast majority of the 400 being called back are inspectors and various staff to support food inspections.
“About 150 of 400 are focused on food inspections, rest are focused on other aspects of mission including medical devices (about 100 staff), drugs (about 70 staff) and biologics (90 staff),” Gottlieb tweeted.
The Department of the Interior also reportedly plans to bring back some workers soon because the shutdown is starting to affect the ability of offshore oil drillers to get permits. The Trump regime doesn’t care about the integrity of the national parks or the health care of Native Americans, both of which are issues overseen by Interior and are suffering tremendously. But they do want to make sure that oil in the Gulf of Mexico can be extracted without a second of delay.
“Failure to hold these sales would have a negative impact to the Treasury and negatively impact investment in the U.S. Offshore Gulf of Mexico,” the Interior Department said, according to Bloomberg News.
The IRS is also recalling thousands of workers in an effort to get tax refunds out the door on time. The agency’s revised contingency plan was published yesterday and explains that over 46,000 IRS employees would be soon back at work without a paycheck. Refunds will go out but things like audits and phone support for those with tax question won’t be happening.
Roughly 420,000 of the 800,000 government workers impacted by the shutdown are currently back at work. They’re just not getting paid and are increasingly turning to public support and food shelves to survive. The number of government workers with GoFundMe accounts has skyrocketed since the beginning of the shutdown. And TSA workers in every corner of the country, from Tampa to Minneapolis to Denver, are all relying on food banks to feed their families.
“It’s getting harder each day to get up at that time of the morning and leave my family when I’m not getting paid for it,” one TSA worker in Philadelphia told the local news.
This approach to governance is perfectly in line with the Trump method of business. He wants everything but he doesn’t want to pay for it. Some people always said they wanted government to be run like a business. And now we get to see that philosophy in action.