D.C. Mayor Muriel E. Bowser (D) is urging President Trump to work with Congress to end the partial federal government shutdown, saying the indefinite closure hurts the city’s residents and businesses.
“During a shutdown, there are no winners and our nation’s federal workers, including the 170,000 federal employees who work in Washington, DC, pay the highest price,” Bowser said in a letter Wednesday.
The mayor also reiterated that the city would step in to provide services such as trash removal at the Mall and other federal parks in the District. The extra trash removal will cost $46,000 a week, Bowser wrote.
The city is also handling an influx of unemployment benefit claims that are common during government shutdowns because workers are not guaranteed back pay (which Congress has approved after prior shutdowns) and because contractors and others affected are also losing income.
The District’s Department of Employment Services, which administers unemployment benefits for city residents, expects claims to surge next week after pending paychecks have been received. City officials say they received an extra 5,000 unemployment claims during the last extended government shutdown.
Although the District government’s budget is tied to the federal budget, the city can continue operating during government shutdowns. But the city is not immune to the ripple effects of shutdowns, which include reduced spending at local stores by federal government workers.
Roughly 800,000 workers nationwide have been affected in the shutdown, which extends to a quarter of the federal government. The president has demanded $5 billion in funding for a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border, but the proposal lacks support in Congress, and no agreement is in sight. Republican House leaders have indicated that they will take no action before Democrats take control of the chamber Jan. 3.
As the shutdown entered its sixth day on Thursday, Trump claimed that most who are losing pay in the shutdown are Democrats, days after claiming that many workers losing pay had urged him to continue the shutdown to obtain border-wall funds.
Bowser ended her letter with a reminder that the District has no voting representation in Congress despite having more residents than Vermont and Wyoming.
“We hope that this key message will resonate during this shutdown: the 702,000 residents of Washington, DC, who pay the highest taxes per capita to the federal treasury, are stepping up to cover federal services during the shutdown, while we are the only citizens within the continental United States without a vote in Congress,” the mayor wrote.