An advocacy organization representing thousands of current and former FBI agents is calling on President TrumpDonald TrumpJulian Castro knocks Biden administration over refugee policy Overnight Energy & Environment — League of Conservation Voters — Climate summit chief says US needs to 'show progress' on environment Five takeaways from Arizona's audit results MORE and Congress to fund the Justice Department, saying the partial government shutdown is threatening operations.
The FBI Agents Association on Thursday released a petition describing the shutdown as a matter of national security, urging leaders in Washington to reopen the government.
“On Friday, January 11, 2019, FBI Agents will not be paid due to the partial government shutdown, but we will continue our work protecting our nation,” the petition reads. “We urge our elected representatives to fund the Department of Justice ('DOJ') and the FBI because financial security is a matter of national security.”
DOJ is one of several federal agencies impacted by the ongoing government shutdown, which entered its 20th day on Thursday. FBI agents are deemed essential and are still working, but they are not being paid as a result of the lapse in appropriations.
Other federal employees across the government have been furloughed, resulting in departments such as Homeland Security and Housing and Urban Development operating understaffed.
The petition asserts that a lapse in pay could result in agents being late on other bills, which could in turn prevent them from securing or renewing security clearances as a result of the rigorous financial checks that the agency performs regarding its agents on a routine basis.
It also notes that the shutdown could hamper the bureau’s effort to recruit and retain high-caliber employees as a result of competition from the private sector.
“The men and women of the FBI proudly serve this nation and are honored to protect our country and Constitution from all threats, foreign and domestic,” the petition reads. “We are confident that our leaders share this commitment to protecting our country and will find a path forward to fund the DOJ and the FBI.”
“As those on the frontlines in the fight against criminals and terrorists, we urge expediency before financial insecurity compromises national security,” it says.
The petition is signed by the association’s leadership, as well as regional representatives and scores of chapter representatives from FBI field offices across the country. The organization represents roughly 14,000 active and retired FBI special agents nationwide.
Trump has been locked in a standoff with congressional Democrats as a result of his demand for funds for a wall at the southern border. There have been few signs that the two sides could come to an agreement, with both digging in following face-to-face talks on Wednesday.