Shutdown Shenanigans - 10/08/13
There might be a hint of rant here. My apologies in advance.
Last week I called on an FBI agent for a news story I'm working on. My call was returned today, Tuesday. I'm not complaining. The civil servant didn't have to call back at all. Afterall, he's not getting paid. I was told when I left the message last week that it could be a few days since this was considered "non essential" business during the government shutdown. Yes, I realize my place. Chasing down hardened criminals comes first, of course.
Once on the phone today, the FBI agent & I exchanged pleasantries at which time he volunteers, "I'm doing as good as can be workin' FREE." Who wants to work for free? Really... anybody? Not me! And I certainly don't expect our FBI to either. Yet, that's what these men and women have been doing for more than a week now.
FBI agents got the letter last week that said, "Unfortunately, whether you are in an 'excepted' or 'non excepted' status, there may be a financial impact to your paycheck." Plus, the agent I was talking to doesn't even know if he'll get back pay. That letter goes on to say, "Only if Congressional action is taken to pass legislation which allows for the retroactive payment of compensation for the time period encompassing the government shutdown, then all employees will be compensated for that time period." That's a big if!
If Congress and the President couldn't first agree on a full year's worth of appropriations, much less a continuing resolution.... why would this agent have any expectation they'd work it out for his retro pay's sake? Regardless of how you feel about Obamacare, the bargaining chip in all of this--- this is wrong. Wrong for our economy, wrong for small businesses that can't get loans to stay afloat, wrong for tourists traveling on fall break who are shut out of parks and landmarks, wrong, wrong, wrong.
I did some checking and as of this writing, Congress has been paid $1.9 million during the shutdown. $1.9 MILLION Their salaries are constitutionally protected during a shut down.
Yes, congress gets paid... along with active military. In terms of accomplishment, these two aren't even on the same planet. While one will spend tomorrow trying to figure out how to stay alive, the other will spend tomorrow trying to figure out where to order sushi. And yes, we'll probably get the bill for that too.
I'll let you know how the story with the FBI agent comes along. It could be a while. The government--- shutdown my deadline.