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Trump Administration Suggests Furloughed Workers Barter with Landlords to Pay Their Rent

President Donald Trump’s administration, via the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM), suggested that furloughed workers — those not getting paid due to the government shutdown  — barter with their landlords to pay their rent.

“A furloughed employee might offer to trade maintenance services such as painting or carpentry work in exchange for a reduction in rent,” OPM suggested.

Additionally, OPM provided sample letter templates that could be used to seek financial assistance, including the following:

As we discussed, I am a Federal employee who has recently been furloughed due to a lack of funding of my agency. Because of this, my income has been severely cut and I am unable to pay the entire cost of my monthly payments, along with my other expenses.

Those seeking legal advice should “consult with your personal attorney,” OPM suggested.

The Department of Homeland Security has also joined in, preparing a “to whom it may concern” letter to employees to forward to their creditors. It’s quite similar to a letter DHS provided federal employees in 2013, which stated:

Because these employees will not receive pay during the lapse in appropriation, some of our employees may have difficulty in timely meeting their financial obligations. This lapse in appropriation is expected to be a temporary situation and one that is beyond our employees’ control. We appreciate your organization’s understanding and flexibility toward DHS employees until this situation is resolved.

Yesterday, the president generated controversy after he suggested, without offering any evidence, that “most of the people not getting paid” during the current government shutdown are Democrats.

The president was also criticized a day earlier for saying, also without offering any evidence, that “Many of those workers have said to me and communicated, ‘stay out until you get the funding for the wall.”

“These federal workers want the wall. The only one that doesn’t want the wall are the Democrats,” the president added. I can’t tell you when the government is going to be open. It’s not going to be open until we have a wall, a fence, whatever they would like to call it. It’s a disgrace what’s happening in this country. But other than that, I wish everybody a merry Christmas.”



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