Furloughed US workers back on the job as fears of another shutdown loom

World Today

It’s the first day back to work, with pay, for some 800,000 U.S. federal workers.

But concern over another partial government shutdown still loom.

President Donald Trump and lawmakers are still bitterly divided over a border wall. And the clock is ticking to reach a deal.

CGTN’s Nathan King explains.

Going back to work on a chilly Monday morning is not normally a source of joy, but for U.S. Federal workers who have gone without paychecks for over a month … it was a happy day.

One federal Worker Gary Hardy in Washington, D.C. hopped off the bus eager to get into his office. “I’m ready. That’s why I’m anxious to get back so I can help those individuals who are in need. That’s my focus and that’s what I want to do. So I’m available,” Hardy said.

For many, the re-opening is a psychological and financial relief.  “It was really hard but luckily I save a little bit a month — I had a month. So if it had lasted to March, then maybe that would have been really bad,” Diane Cooper said.

Tourists are happy, too. Here in the U.S. capital the monuments and museums are reopening after weeks of closures and confusion.

Chris Bartolomei from Ohio taking in the sights was pleased his rip timed out well. “From a tourist perspective, it’s good to be back, because some things might be opened today that weren’t a few days ago. So, the timing is good. For the country, I think it’s good for the people that have been out of jobs recently,” Bartolomei said.

Some Federal workers were forced to rely on food banks during the shutdown.

Billions of dollars lost means the economic effects of the longest government shutdown in U.S. history could linger. And the government could shut down again in three weeks. U.S. President Trump putting the chances at 50-50. He still wants billions for a Mexican border wall.

Monday his Press Secretary Sarah Sanders told reporters:

“The president doesn’t want to go through another shutdown. That’s not the goal. The goal is border security, protecting the American people. Ideally, Democrats would take these next three weeks to negotiate in good faith as they’ve indicated that they would.”

But Congressional Democrats have, so far, denied Trump funding for one of his key campaign promises and are just as energized against its construction.

Politically, many think the U.S. President won’t shut down the U.S. government again—holding government workers hostage over a policy difference that cost Trump support in his own party, and in the polls. For now, though, workers here in Washington and across the U.S.—just happy to get back to work.