HUNTSVILLE, Ala – The White House now says it’s willing to work with Congress to avert a ‘partial government shutdown’. President Trump still insists on $5 billion for his border wall, but there may be new signs of progress ahead of Friday’s deadline.
“We’ve laid out clearly what our parameters are with members of Congress. We want to know what they can pass,” said White House Press Secretary, Sarah Sanders.
Sanders says the White House has begun exploring other sources to fund the President’s border wall. Democratic lawmakers have said they’re not willing to go above $1.6 billion for increased border security. Lawmakers must still hash out the details and get a funding bill signed into law by Friday midnight.
Even a partial shutdown could affect thousands of people in the Huntsville area. It’s the not first time the threat of a shutdown has loomed over employees in North Alabama.
People are decking the halls, shopping at malls, and having a ball as the holiday season is in full swing, but that’s not the case for some federal employees.
The American Federation of Government Employees Local 1858 President, Abner Merriweather says preparing for a government shutdown has become more business as usual in recent years.
“Employees are pretty much used to it so they don’t get all excited,” Merriweather said.
While the prospect of a looming shutdown is becoming more common, he says the timeline of when government employees are notified of possible furloughs is changing.
“They used to give us at least a two-week notice in the past and each employee received a letter. So, everybody expected what day they were going to be potentially furloughed, or in this case, shut down. They have always had a strategic plan,” he explained.
He says its frustrating. He finally notified that Department of Defense employees would not be affected by the shutdown Tuesday, just days before it could occur.
“For the last two years, it has always been a very last-minute notice like a day, several hours notice,” he stated.
AFGE Local 1858 is the largest union in the state, representing 11,000 employees. While they won’t be affected by the shutdown, other employees at arsenal could feel the effects – 6,000, in fact. 96% of NASA employees could be furloughed.
TSA employees could also be affected by a shutdown. Since officers at airports are deemed essential they would have to work without pay.