Late Thursday, the United States Department of State issued an order putting diplomats and employees around the world back to work . . . with pay.
As the shutdown is heading toward its 28th day, and no deals have been struck to cover payroll for diplomats, it’s unclear how the State Department is paying American diplomats and their staffs around the world.
In the memo to staff, the department stated that it “found money” to pay employees for the next two weeks.
The State Department employs 69,000 people around the world, including foreign nationals.
With the average salary of a federal worker toping $77,000 (for State employees this can be assumed to be higher), the agency would have had to magically find at least $204,346,153 to cover employee pay for one pay period.
Last week a national park briefly closed then reopened with paid staff, explaining that they could keep operations running with “user fees.”
State Department employees are known in Washington as the most self-important and pampered group of workers in the region. Part of this attitude stems from Hillary Clinton’s four-year tenure leading the department on behalf of Barack Obama.
The move by the State Department begs the question, “how many taxpayer dollars are sitting around in government bank accounts?”
According to USASpending.gov, that State Department had roughly $15 million unobligated dollars available for salaries at the close of 2018.
That means they don’t need congressional approval to spend it.
Sitting in the account of the Global HIV/AIDS program that is run by the State Department, there is more than $10.3 billion dollars remaining.
For all combined accounts for the Department of State, an unobligated balance of $66 billion remained at the end of the year.
How much more money collected from taxpayers is simply laying around?