Government suggestion that workers should barter for rent during shutdown gets roasted

The Office of Personnel Management told federal workers whose income is cut off by the ongoing government shutdown to take up maintenance work in exchange for lower rent in advice published Thursday on Twitter.

The tweet advises the workers to seek legal advice from a personal attorney before linking to a page on the department’s website with template letters to send to creditors, landlords and mortgage companies.

“As we discussed, I am a Federal employee who has recently been furloughed due to a lack of funding of my agency,” one reads. “Because of this, my income has been severely cut and I am unable to pay the entire cost of my mortgage, along with my other expenses.”

“I would like to discuss with you the possibility of trading my services to perform maintenance (e.g. painting, carpentry work) in exchange for partial rent payments,” another reads.

“I appreciate your willingness to work with me and your understanding during this difficult time,” it concludes.

The internet reacted with disgust and anger that the government fell into a situation so dire that its employees be faced with trading services in exchange for leniency.

There are around 420,000 federal employees currently on furlough across nine departments because of the current government shutdown, triggered by disputes over the funding of President Donald Trump’s desired border wall. The shutdown is currently in its seventh day and isn’t expected to end until after the new year. 

David Gilmour

David Gilmour

David Gilmour is a reporter who specializes in national politics, internet culture, and technology. He previously covered civil liberties, crime, and politics for Vice.