With the country mired in the longest government shutdown in American history, dozens of members of Congress have vowed to refuse their paychecks or donate their earnings in a show of solidarity with federal employees who have been without pay for weeks.
The New York State Department of Labor said that there are approximately 114,000 federal employees in the state, all of whom have been without a paycheck since the shutdown began on Dec. 22 as politicians haggle about immigration reform. In total, an estimated 800,000 federal workers have been without work for weeks.
Congress has passed a bill guaranteeing those federal employees will receive back pay when the government reopens, but there is no end in sight as President Donald Trump and elected Democrats continue to hold firm about his stances on immigration reform.
In response, more than 130 Congressional members who have continued to receive their pay have spoken out and have had their paychecks suspended or offered to donate them to local charities, including two from the Hudson Valley: Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney, who has been very critical of the shutdown on social media, as well as newly elected fellow Democrat Antonio Delgado.
Other members of Congress in New York who are declining or donating their pay during the shutdown include: Chris Collins, Adriano Espaillat, Carolyn Maloney, Max Rose, Elise Stefanik and Lee Zeldin.
New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, who announced her intention to run for president in 2020 on “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert” this week, spoke about the shutdown during her spot on the show.
“We have 800,000 people who are not getting a paycheck. Families across America are worried about not making their rent and paying their mortgage,” they said. “People are worried about not having the money to heat their home, or buy food for their kids, or prescription medicine. What (Trump) has done is outrageous."
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