Government shutdown could have harsh impact on workers living paycheck-to-paycheck

US Capitol building and money / Photo: Pixabay / (MGN)

The government shutdown has officially stretched into a 20th day, making it the second longest shutdown in U.S. history. If it remains in effect through the weekend, it will become the longest, surpassing the 21-day clash between President Bill Clinton and the Republican controlled Congress of 1995. Most significant, though? Friday is payday, and the first week when government workers furloughed by the shutdown will have to go without their paychecks.

A single paycheck might not seem like a lot to some, but for the majority of Americans living paycheck-to-paycheck, it can be a significant burden. According to a 2017 study by CareerBuilder, nearly 80% of Americans would be in dire straights without their regular paycheck, unable to pay for necessities like food, housing, and utlities.

As the shutdown has continued, #ShutdownStories has become a popular tag on social media as furloughed workers share their concerns about their ability to pay for basic living expenses should it stretch much further.

Despite concerns, the shutdown doesn't show signs of ending soon. President Trump walked out of a meeting with Democratic leadership Wednesday night claiming on Twitter that Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, once again refused his demand for more than $5 Billion to fund a wall at the US-Mexico border. The President has traveled to the border today, seeking to bolster his case for that wall. The President plans to visit McAllen, Texas, one of the busiest locations for illegal border crossings.

President Trump has threatened to allow the shutdown to continue for months or even years, and has said he is willing to declare a national emergency, which would allow him to appropriate the funds without Congressional approval. Some Republicans have expressed concern over that solution.