Federal workers powered through a government shutdown and impeachment chaos in 2019
During impeachment hearings, career diplomat Marie Yovanovitch told of being called back as the ambassador to Ukraine in the middle of the night and, later, of being “shocked and devastated” to learn that President Donald Trump had told Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskiy that she was “going to go through some things.” (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)
OPINION — Few jobs are ever easy. But the last year for the roughly 2 million federal employees of the United States has been more than just difficult. For some, it’s been expensive. For many, it’s been demoralizing. And for the Foreign Service officers who came forward to tell the House Intelligence Committee what they knew about President Donald Trump’s conversations with the president of Ukraine over the summer, the year has felt downright dangerous. The president has called federal employees everything from “Deep State” to “human scum” this year. But today, I’d like to simply thank them for their service.
It’s easy to forget, but 2019 began in the middle of what would become the longest government shutdown in American history and the third since 2013. Faced with an impasse over money for the president’s border wall, Congress left town last December without funding about a quarter of the government, including salaries for 420,000 federal employees scattered across the country. While most were furloughed, 55,000 others, including staff at the Department of Homeland Security and Justice Department, were required to work without pay anyway — and they did.