It’s day 33 of the government shutdown, and while some departments have gone back to work, many federal employees are still not being paid and others remain out of work completely. “Hundreds of thousands of government workers aren’t being paid the money they were counting on to feed their families and buy their medicine,” Full Frontal host Samantha Bee noted on Wednesday night. “But there are some people who think the shutdown is no big deal.”
Television personality John Stossel is one of those people, insisting on Fox Business that “some of the workers they call essential probably aren’t” and “most people don’t notice” the shutdown, even though it’s been going on for more than a month. As has become a major part of the job for late night hosts lately, Bee used her show to give federal employees a voice, sending correspondent Allana Harkin to Washington D.C. to talk to some of those “non-essential workers.”
To allow employees to speak without compromising their careers, Harkin created a spoof of “my new favorite hallucination and tv show, The Masked Singer.” We were disappointed to hear that the music from this spoof of the Fox reality competition is fake, but Harkin assured viewers “the voices of the people you’ll hear are from interviews we conducted with actual furloughed government workers with jobs vital to a functioning society.”
As the competition began, the outlandish outfits and cheesy songs were quickly overshadowed by the reminder of just how essential government workers are to the country. “I am concerned that preparation for hurricane season is not being done and will have an adverse effect on the American public,” said a worker for FEMA. A worker from the Bureau of Land Management similarly warned, “this is time that we have to prepare for fire season. Fire season’s right around the corner. We’re running out of time at this point and I can’t stress how scary that is.”
Ryan Baugh of the Department of Homeland Security was willing to reveal his identity and was quick to point out that the shutdown is impacting the checks and balances that keep government functioning: “What keeps me up at night is knowing that some of the oversight bodies of the government who help make sure the government operates safely and in accordance of the law, those offices are largely in hibernation right now.”
Still, the government shutdown shows no signs of ending, with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell blaming the other party. “Clearly the Democrats’ priorities are way out of whack here, way out of whack,” he has said. Get that guy some lettuce, stat.