Leahy: Forest Service worker has $5,500 unpaid credit card expenses
In a statement today on the impact of the government shutdown, Senate Appropriations Committee ranking member Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., told the story of an employee of the U.S. Forest Service, a division of the Agriculture Department, who has $5,500 on a government credit card that won’t be paid until USDA reopens.
“I will share the story of a Vermonter who wrote to me about her sister. Her sister joined the U.S. Forest Service. In the wake of the recent hurricanes and typhoons, she used a government credit card, issued in her name, to travel with the service to assist in the aftermath of these disasters.
“But now the bills for her official travel — official travel — are due, but there is no one at the Forest Service to pay them. She is now stuck with more than $5,500 in government bills in her name that she must pay or risk damaging her own financial record.
“She writes: ‘This, though, is one very small story in a flood of credit disasters, unpaid mortgages, Christmas debts, anxieties, and uncertainties among government employees affected by the shutdown. I’m writing you to suggest that this kind of government shutdown should not be on the negotiation table, because it holds out the possibility that the suffering of the American people can be used as political leverage. There are other ways.’”
Leahy also said, “I have never in my 44 years in the United States Senate seen something so tone deaf from a president of the United States. Even during his address to the nation on Tuesday night, which was more of an exercise in data-distorting demagoguery than informing the American people, President Trump refused to acknowledge the real pain the Trump shutdown is causing.”
“But dozens of Vermonters have contacted my office to share how they are suffering under the Trump shutdown. These Vermonters are urging the president and my Republican colleagues to stop playing politics with their lives and reopen the federal government.”