Contractor: I'm Living On Ramen During Federal Shutdown

January 13, 2019 - 2:18 pm
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NEW YORK (WCBS 880) – On day 23 of the government shutdown, workers in the city shared their stories at a news conference on the Lower East Side.

The shutdown became the longest in U.S. history this weekend, and Rep. Nydia Velázquez joined affected workers, labor leaders and Democrats from Congress to share their stories. 

Velázquez blames Trump for the shutdown, but says Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has enabled the president to keep it going, with McConnell refusing to put a House-passed budget plan up for a vote.

“If you care for the wellbeing of the American people and if you care to fulfill your constitutional responsibility, Mr. McConnell, do your job,” Velázquez said.

Keith Polite works security at the National Museum of the American Indian in Lower Manhattan.

He is not one of the 800,000 federal employees impacted by the shutdown but a contract worker for the government, meaning that while federal employees may get back pay whenever the shutdown ends, Polite won’t.

He’s still in good spirits but says he’s had to make hard choices, including what he eats, as bills pile up and his bank account goes down.

“Staying home, eating ramen noodles, you know like college food, you know you get like three for $1,” Polite said. “Just cutting back drastically as much as I can.”

Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney was asked whether President Trump would be justified in declaring a national emergency at the southern border.

“The only emergency we’re confronting is one that he created, one that he created by closing down the government and continuing to keep it closed,” Maloney said.