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Trump Enacts Bill on Compensation for US Govt Employees Amid Shutdown

© AP Photo / Pablo Martinez MonsivaisUnion members and other federal employees rally to call for an end to the partial government shutdown, Thursday, Jan. 10, 2019 at AFL-CIO Headquarters in Washington
Union members and other federal employees rally to call for an end to the partial government shutdown, Thursday, Jan. 10, 2019 at AFL-CIO Headquarters in Washington - Sputnik International
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WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - The legislature also entitles excepted federal government employees to use furloughs during a lapse in appropriations, the White House said in a statement on Wednesday.

“[T]he President signed… the ‘Government Employee Fair Treatment Act of 2019,’ which requires the compensation of government employees for wages lost, work performed, or leave used during a lapse in appropriations that begins on or after December 22, 2018,” the statement said on Wednesday.

The shutdown, which has been caused by a standoff between Trump and his Republican majority in the Senate, and the Democrat-controlled House of Representatives has now continued for nearly four weeks and is the longest government shutdown in the US history.

READ MORE: Govt Shutdown Exacerbates Decline of US Housing Market — Wall Street Analyst

American Federation of Government Employees 2nd District National Vice President Vincent Castellano told Sputnik on Tuesday that many federal employees started seeking side jobs to make ends because of the ongoing shutdown. In particular, Castellano said that Transport Security Administration (TSA) workers receive a median salary of $35,000 or less. As opposed to working without pay they are forced to call in sick to find another job.

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Last Friday marked the first missed paycheck for more than 800,000 federal government workers, about half of whom have worked without pay since the shutdown began 22 December, with the remainder sent home.

The partial government shutdown was caused by the fact that Trump is demanding to include $5.7 billion in the budget to build a wall on the US-Mexico border.

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Trump argues that a wall is needed at a time when border officials are reportedly blocking more than 60,000 illegal aliens from entering the United States each month. In turn, Democrats claim that physical barriers are ineffective and that Trump has engineered a fake crisis for political gain.

READ MORE: US Voters Back Dems Plan to Reopen Govt Amid Ongoing Border Wall Debates — Poll

Trump has threatened to declare a national emergency — a move that would allow the president to order US troops to build a wall on the country’s border with Mexico.

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