Sanders Statement on How the Government Shutdown is Affecting Vermonters

BURLINGTON, Vt., Jan. 7 – U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) issued the following statement Monday on the impact of the government shutdown on Vermonters: 

“In Vermont, alone, over 1,300 federal workers may be going without a paycheck, thanks to Trump’s misguided government shutdown. These include employees who work at the TSA, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Customs and Border Patrol, and the Internal Revenue Service. As a result of this shutdown, there is growing concern in Vermont and around the country about how these federal employees are going to pay their mortgages, feed their families and provide for other basic needs without a paycheck. 

“Further, if the shutdown continues into February, many low and moderate-income Vermonters will be impacted. Families who depend upon food stamps to put food on the table may not be able to get that help. Security at airports and the length of time needed to go through security could very well be impacted if TSA employees are not getting paid. Farmers and small businesses won’t be able to receive the financial assistance they need to survive from the Department of Agriculture or the Small Business Administration. It’s time for President Trump to end this shutdown and for Senate Leader McConnell to hold a vote in the Senate to reopen the federal government as soon as possible.” 

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Accounts of the Government Shutdown on Vermonters:

-           Sanders’ office received a call from a 78-year-old Vermonter concerned about seniors and the shutdown. She said she cannot work and fears her food stamps are going to be reduced or taken away. She is concerned for all seniors who rely on federal benefits. 

-           Sanders’ staff spoke with a Vermonter waiting for a hearing on her Social Security disability claim. In the meantime, her husband is working without pay for Customs and Border Patrol.  They were able to make the mortgage payment this month, but are worried about next month, and are concerned about being able to pay for fuel and electricity. 

-           Sanders’ office received a call from a Vermonter whose daughter is a federal employee who is not getting paid. The daughter is $118,000 in debt from student loans.  

Quotes from Vermonters:

-           “My son is enlisted Coast Guard. He has a one-month-old son he raises with his wife … This shutdown has him and other Coasties going without pay probably a minimum of one month. They give all to their careers on pay which is lower than their civilian counterparts.”

-           “Being furloughed without pay is an extreme risk for my family’s ability to pay monthly bills.”

-           “I have lived in Vermont my entire life … As you well know, the cost of living in Vermont is not cheap, the government shutdown and withholding of pay is a deep cut with a rusted knife. The pay increase freeze for federal workers is salt in the wound. These events have me thinking twice about not only my job, but leaving Vermont, neither of these things I wish to see happen.”