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Furloughed feds stage rally to speak out against government shutdown

A group of furloughed feds hold a protest against government shutdown in College Park, Maryland, on Adelphi Road. (WTOP/Nick Iannelli)

COLLEGE PARK, Md. — With no end in sight to the partial government shutdown, a number of federal employees directly impacted by the standoff staged a rally Friday in College Park.

The demonstrators, who work for the National Archives and Records Administration, have been furloughed since the shutdown started.

“This has got to end, and we have got to go back to work,” said Ashby Crowder, president of the American Federation of Government Employees Local 2578.

“We’re out here not just for us, but in solidarity with all federal employees who are negatively affected by this situation.”

A small group participated in the protest, gathering on Adelphi Road across from the National Archives at College Park, a major facility owned by the National Archives and Records Administration.

“We have employees who have taken an oath to serve the people who are locked out of their jobs,” Crowder said, pointing to technicians, archivists, conservators and other specialists who have been sidelined.

The protest came a day after House Democrats passed a plan to reopen the government without funding President Donald Trump’s promised border wall.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Trump and Senate Republicans should “take yes for an answer” and approve the border bill, which was virtually identical to a plan the Senate adopted on a voice vote last month.

“We’re not doing a wall. Does anyone have any doubt that we’re not doing a wall?” Pelosi told reporters at a news conference Thursday night.

Trump is demanding billions of dollars to build his wall along the U.S. border with Mexico, which the Democrats have refused, and Trump insists Mexico will pay for.

Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer urged Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to put the House Democratic package on the Senate floor and send it to the president, saying it would show Trump “the sweet light of reason.”

McConnell has dismissed the idea as a “total nonstarter” and a waste of time.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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