DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Government employees across the country are mobilizing and rallying against the partial government shutdown. In Dallas members of the American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) and workers from other affected agencies are protesting downtown.
As it stands, almost half of the nation’s 800,000 civilian federal employees are currently furloughed or working without pay. The workers are due to miss their first full paycheck tomorrow.
Those coming together to rally in Dallas say they’re protesting the “interruption to their work, missed paychecks, and services being denied the American taxpayer.”
The rally outside the offices for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on Ross Avenue, is happening just as President Donald Trump makes his way to Texas where he’ll again make his case to build a $5.7 billion border wall.
“It’s because we as taxpayers are letting our representatives go back to Washington and not do their jobs. I don’t understand why the taxpayers are not up in arms,” said EPA employee Janet Adams. “We need a bill that says none of them will get a paycheck until all agencies are fully funded.”
Dozens of people showed up with signs of protest and bullhorns chanting, “What do we want? Work! When do we want it? Now!”
Back in Washington, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is blocking attempts by Democrats to force a vote on legislation to reopen the federal government, because he will not bring up a bill that President Trump doesn’t support.
Jeanne Schulze is president of the local chapter of the American Federation of Government Employees. “We want to put pressure on the Senate because we have a constitution that created three equal but separate branches of government,” she said. “We elected people to the House and the Senate to do the people’s business and represent the people and they have the capability to pass legislation even if the administration opposes it and that’s what we’re pressuring those in the Senate to do.”
The President and congressional Democrats remain at an impasse over the wall as a partial government shutdown drags a 20th day. Before leaving for McAllen and the Rio Grande Valley President Trump indicated he will likely declare a national emergency if Congress doesn’t reach an agreement.
“A lot of the people that are basically up there that’s not allowing us to get paid of course they have a bank account that has money in it, that has savings, they have stocks and bond and all that good stuff, which is great,” said Becky Mancha, who has worked for the TSA at Dallas Love Field Airport for nearly eight years. “But you’re talking to an average person that makes anywhere from $30,000 to $40,000 a year that tries to support not only themselves but maybe three or four other people with that… we’re not considered in poverty but we basically are and they don’t understand that.”