Video: At Sen. Crapo's Boise Office, Indivisible Idaho Calls for End to Government Shutdown 

"It's not just the government workers that are affected. We're all going to suffer."

click to enlarge Sheila Lehman (pictured) is a furloughed federal worker who has felt the impacts of the government shutdown.

Harrison Berry

Sheila Lehman (pictured) is a furloughed federal worker who has felt the impacts of the government shutdown.

Standing in the lobby of the Fort Street building January 23, where Idaho Sen. Mike Crapo keeps his Boise office, Sheila Lehman said she expected to miss a second paycheck this week.

"I feel like a pawn in a chess game," she said. "We have bills to pay."

Lehman works for the Bureau of Land Management, and the partial federal government shutdown—now the longest in U.S. history—means she and her husband have dipped into their savings and relied on credit cards for essential purchases. That's why she was at a demonstration near Crapo's office organized by Indivisible Idaho: to call on any elected official who will listen to bring the shutdown to an end.

Demonstration organizer Rod Couch said that on top of the nearly 800,000 federal workers impacted by the shutdown which began on Dec. 22, there are thousands of jobs that depend on federal workers being at their jobs without pay - from government contractors to service providers near shuttered federal landmarks.

"It's not just the government workers that are affected," he said. "We're all going to suffer."
Dozens of people showed up at the Boise midday rally, with signs bearing slogans like "End the Shutdown" and "Don't Shut Down, Grow Up." Many westbound cars on Front Street honked in approval. At one point, someone rolled down a car window and shouted, "Make America great again!"

Demonstrators said they were calling for a complete reopening of the government, with, as Couch put it, "not one penny to a Berlin-style wall," a reference to the major sticking point in negotiations over government funding: President Donald Trump's insistence that such a bill must include $5.7 billion for a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border.

click to enlarge HARRISON BERRY
  • Harrison Berry
Inside Crapo's Boise office, communications director Lindsay Nothern said there may be a glimmer of hope: Votes will be cast on two competing U.S. Senate bills that could reopen parts of the government. That said, neither is expected to garner the necessary 60 votes for passage, Nothern said.

"We're working hard at it," he said. "Hopefully those votes will pave the way for movement on this issue."

So far, Nothern said, Crapo has not indicated whether he has a preference for a bill that reopens the government and has border wall funding attached, but he does have an interest in comprehensive immigration reform, and has spoken with his constituents and Idaho agricultural groups that have suffered a years-long labor shortage for a lack of action on the issue.

"The agriculture sector—they don't get the workers they need," Nothern said. 

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