On Wednesday, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) asked the president why he won’t just sign the budget agreements passed by Congress to reopen the government and stop hurting the 800,000 American workers currently working without pay, as well as all Americans who rely on some of the services those employees provide for survival.
Trump’s answer: “Because then you won’t give me what I want.”
A lawsuit being brought by federal workers says being forced to work without pay is a violation of the the 5th and 13th amendments and — further — that the definition of what constitutes "essential" workers is too broad.https://t.co/vx6awaw0vq
— WAMU 88.5 (@wamu885) January 10, 2019
Trump may not get that the presidency is not a business deal where playing hardball is a risk that a businessman takes, that there are actual lives and families suffering thanks to his demands on getting his way, but he’s about to face that fact. Thanks to Trump’s government shutdown over five billion in funding for an unnecessary and ineffective border wall, he’s being sued by numerous different federal government agency workers.
One lawsuit was brought by federal agency workers from four different departments. WAMU reports:
‘The five employees work at four federal agencies: the Department of Justice, the Department of Transportation, the Department of Agriculture and the Department of Homeland Security. Four of them are working without pay, and they say that amounts to involuntary servitude, a violation of the 13th Amendment. The remaining worker has been furloughed, and says that restrictions on his ability to look for another job during the shutdown violates the Fifth Amendment.’
We now have named Federal employees—from CBP—expressing an opinion on the government shutdown: They're against it. https://t.co/LgtQTSTvGR They joined a lawsuit against the Trump administration over forced unpaid work during the shutdown. @realDonaldTrump #GovernmentShutdown
— Robert Ackerman (@DesertRat842) January 10, 2019
At every performance of Trump’s fear-mongering dance in which he warns Americans that brown people will come and kill them all if he isn’t given the five billion dollars he promised Mexico would fork over, he has border patrol agents come to read their lines about how very right Trump is.
Now, the border agents are suing him, too. The Daily Beast reports that:
‘The National Treasury Employees Union first filed the lawsuit alleging that tens of thousands of its members were being forced to work without pay on Tuesday, with one Border Protection agent included as a plaintiff. On Wednesday, two more agents had been added to the suit, with Customs and Border Protection officers Eleazar Avalos and James Davis now joining fellow CBP officer Albert Vieira.’
Trump has also said that while he, the billionaire whose billionaire father gave him loads of free cash just for being born, can sympathize with the federal workers’ pain of facing real poverty, he’s heard from them and they are all willing to sacrifice their pay to give Trump what he wants in order to keep the country safe from roving bands of Central and South Americans. As it turns out, airline security personnel and prison guards, people whose jobs it is to help keep the country safe, disagree.
ABC News says that:
‘One of the largest unions representing federal workers has hired a law firm out of Washington to protest the estimated 420,000 federal workers who are being required to work without pay…That included airline security officials and prison guards, who are typically given back pay if Congress approves it.’
— Evan Rosenfeld (@Evan_Rosenfeld) January 10, 2019
Some of the lawsuits name Trump, Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielson, Department of Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao, acting Attorney General Matt Whitaker, and Department of Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue.