Pay for millions of federal workers is at risk with a looming government shutdown

With six kids under the age of 15 to support, Stephen Booth, a police officer for the Air Force in Kansas, doesn’t have room in his budget for a missed paycheck.

But like millions of other government employees across the country, Booth is bracing for his pay to stop indefinitely at the end of the month as Congress careens toward a government shutdown

House Republicans left Thursday unable to reach a compromise within their ranks over a new budget, including funds for the Defense Department, with a handful of conservative holdouts demanding additional spending cuts. Unless Congress acts, the federal government will not be able to pay its 4 million employees after Sept. 30.

Stephen Booth.Courtesy Stephen Booth

That has Booth, a veteran with nearly two decades of law enforcement and security experience, beginning to think of ways to get by without pay, like feeding his family with the meat he can get from hunting, eggs from his chickens and the money he makes driving on the side for Uber.

“The politicians aren’t thinking about us down here on the ground floor doing the work,” said Booth, who is also a local liaison for the American Federation of Government Employees, a union representing federal workers.



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