The Trump administration gives ridiculous and demeaning advice to federal employees struggling because of the self-induced shutdown

The Trump administration gives ridiculous and demeaning advice to federal employees struggling because of the self-induced shutdown
White House photo by Joyce Boghosian

With the federal government having been partially shut down for a week, around 800,000 federal workers have either been furloughed or asked to report to work without a definite pay date. And the Trump Administration has a suggestion on how they can pay their rent on January 1: ask their landlords if they can perform chores in exchange for rent payments.


On December 27, the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) posted a tweet that advised federal workers affected by the shutdown, “Feds, here are sample letters you may use as a guide when working with your creditors during this furlough. If you need legal advice, please consult with your personal attorney.”

Bizarrely, the government seems to believe that the average federal employee has a personal attorney to consult (presumably for free, since money is tight) about legal options.

One of the sample letters reads, “I will keep in touch with you to keep you informed about my income status, and I would like to discuss with you the possibility of trading my services to perform maintenance (e.g. painting, carpentry work) in exchange for partial rent payments.”

It remains to be seen how much longer the partial shutdown of the U.S. federal government will continue. President Donald Trump has declared that he will not sign any spending bill that lacks $5 billion for a proposed U.S./Mexico border wall, which House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer are adamantly opposed to—although both of them have stressed that they consider border security a high priority and are open to greater funding for high-tech surveillance equipment for the United States Border Patrol.

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