At first, furloughed federal employees were sent home from work to wait out the partial government shutdown. Now, they’re being told to get back on the job without pay.
Thousands of staffers from agencies including the Internal Revenue Service and the Federal Aviation Administration will be forced to start punching the clock again, according to announcements made Tuesday.
Per its newly published shutdown plan, the IRS will recall about 46,000 workers as tax filing season looms less than two weeks away. The added employees mean nearly 60 percent of the workforce will be on duty, which will help tax refunds to get out on time, but without compensation for the workers bearing the burden.
Meanwhile a revised Department of Transportation shutdown plan indicates more than 3,600 FAA employees are back on the job. That number was calculated using the DOT’s initial plan released last month.
In a statement released last week, the FAA called safety its “top priority,” adding that it is “allocating resources based on risk assessment to meet all safety critical functions.”
“If we identify an issue, we recall inspectors and engineers to address it.”
The shutdown is the longest in U.S. history, dragging into its third week with no end in sight as Democrats face off with the GOP over President Donald Trump’s demands for more than $5 billion to build a border wall.
On Tuesday, Trump invited moderate Democrats to a White House meeting only to be turned down once they began suspecting it was the president’s attempt at a divide-and-conquer strategy to work a deal to pay for the wall.
CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story said the IRS plans to recall 36,000 workers; it plans to bring back about 46,000.