The Government Shutdown: Stories from the States

January 16, 2019 by TWN Staff
The Government Shutdown: Stories from the States
John Kiefner checks soybean plants on his farm near Manhattan, Ill., on July 24, 2018. (Zbigniew Bzdak/Chicago Tribune/TNS)

If there is one thing that has become clear over the past few days, it’s that people across the United States are being impacted in real and painful ways by the protracted government shutdown. With no end in immediate view, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer wants to make sure everyone in Washington knows exactly what inaction means for Americans who are struggling to pay their bills and even put food on the table.  His office has distributed the following list of stories from every state in the country while calling on Trump to end the shutdown.


Andrew Rickabaugh, Small Business Owner: “When Andrew Rickabaugh and his brother-in-law decided to start a restoration business last year in Huntsville, Alabama, they reached out to the Small Business Administration to guarantee a loan to help them buy equipment. The process was going smoothly – Rickabaugh said he expected approval around Christmas – until the shutdown hit. The Small Business Administration guaranteed more than $30 billion in loans to companies in the fiscal year that ended in 2017, but processing of most loans was suspended when the agency closed. Rickabaugh couldn’t reach SBA officials in Alabama. ‘We’re having to do things a little differently than maybe we had planned,’ said Rickabaugh, whose company, Rick-N-Ball Restoration, fixes damage caused by water, mold, smoke and other hazards. ‘It’s unfortunate that the inability of politicians to come to an agreement (means) people like us … pay a price.’”  [USA Today, 1/1/19]


Tim Mowry, Alaska Division of Forestry Employee Working Without Pay: “There’s a lot of work that goes on behind the scenes, even in December and January…Since the shutdown has happened, there’s essentially two employees here at the Alaska Fire Service… Everybody else is on furlough.  And it’s like a morgue here. There’s nobody here, there’s no janitorial services.” [Alaska Public Radio, 1/13/19]


Tony Robbins, Furloughed Employee, Bureau of Indian Affairs: “‘My co-workers we live from paycheck to paycheck, which is going to hit hard here,’ said Tony Robbins, a natural resources manager for the Bureau of Indian Affairs in Tuba City…. ‘There’s been a lower morale within our workforce, but the feeling that we are being held hostage — that takes its toll on our workforce, too.’” [Fronteras, 1/11/19]

Scott Carnes, Air Traffic Controller Working Without Pay, Federal Aviation Administration: “…There is no money coming into the family right now. Carnes is married to a federal employee, who is also an air traffic controller. .. ‘We loaded up on groceries a couple days ago and are just going to ride it out and see what happens,’ he said…. ‘But I think when February hits, that’s when the mortgage is due. [The] car payment is due,’ he said. But no matter how scary things get, Carnes can’t let it affect his work as an air traffic controller. ‘You have lives at stake on airplanes, and you just can’t make mistakes,’ he said.” [Fronteras, 1/11/19]


Brandy Moore, Federal Corrections Officer Working Without Pay: “‘We feel like we’re being held hostage,” said Brandy Moore, who works at the Federal Correctional Institution in Forrest City and serves as national secretary for the union representing prison workers. ‘These people live paycheck to paycheck, and they can’t afford to go without one… We risk our lives every day not knowing if we’re going to come home or not,’ she said. ‘That just adds insult to injury.’” [Arkansas Online, 1/11/19]


Ashley Tabaddor, Furloughed Immigration Judge: “It’s indefensible to not appreciate the role and responsibility that there is to make sure the government runs smoothly.”[NY Times, 1/3/19]

Leisyka Parrott, Furloughed Employee, Bureau of Land Management:“Her furlough had a sobering effect on their holiday celebration. ‘I definitely went really light on it this year,’ Parrott said. ‘I explained to my son that our financial future is uncertain.’ … Parrott… isn’t taking it for granted that she and other furloughed workers will get back pay, as they did after previous government shutdowns. ‘It’s scary,’ she said. ‘I do live paycheck to paycheck.’ Gas isn’t cheap, so Parrott stays home as much as she can. With rent and car payments, she doesn’t have much wiggle room in her family budget. ‘I already live pretty frugally,’ she said.” [AP, 1/4/19]


Chris Fowler, Furloughed Employee, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development: “‘I have a mortgage to pay, a daughter in college and a son about to graduate high school,’ said Fowler, who went through the 16-day partial federal government shutdown five years ago. ‘The bottom line is we shouldn’t have to do this — we should be at work.’… “The federal employee has just become another rider in an amendment someone is trying to pass. We’re bargaining chips.’” [Denver Post, 12/27/18]

Britta Copt, Furloughed Employee, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency: “‘There are a lot of people in my office who live paycheck to paycheck,’ said Britta Copt, who works in the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s safe drinking water enforcement unit in Denver. ‘It’s frustrating to be in this situation constantly. It gets really old.’” [Denver Post, 12/27/18]

Jeff Kelly, Furloughed Employee, U.S. Department of Interior: “‘I’ve got enough money to go through one billing cycle,’ he said Wednesday, citing child support, a mortgage and a car payment as obligations he needs to be able to satisfy….’There’s less appreciation and understanding of the work federal workers do,’ he said.” [Denver Post, 12/27/18]


Bryan Krampovitis, Air Traffic Controller Working Without Pay, Federal Aviation Administration: “‘I’m a single father of my daughter, and she relies on me to be her sole provider,’ Krampovitis said recently. ‘I have a home and mortgage. It’s a hard time to be in. I’m forced to continue to go work or face the possibility of losing my job.’.. ‘If the government is still closed, I will get a zero dollar paycheck,’ Krampovitis said.” [Hartford Courant, 1/12/19]

Courtney Grimes, Spouse of U.S. Coast Guard Service Member Working Without Pay: “[Her husband is] working a full-time job currently and when he comes home — he comes home, showers, changes and goes right back out again and works another job to ensure that we stay afloat…He actually has off this weekend, and through friends, again, and word of mouth, he will work 10 hours a day Saturday and Sunday doing handyman business so we have food on the table….Going back and forth, [the gas] adds up very fast so without being paid, I’m not sure how we are going to make it.” [Hartford Courant, 1/12/19]

Andy Romano, Air Traffic Controller Working Without Pay, Federal Aviation Administration: “It tells me that they don’t care about the outcome…You’re waking up early, you’re coming in, you’re working your regularly scheduled shift, you’re not getting paid, you have other things to worry about, as far as financial concerns…Morale has certainly taken a hit because of it….Assuming the shutdown gets extended, I’m going to have to utilize my credit card and basically charge everything and maybe take out personal loans as well, so it’s definitely concerning…We serve the flying public. We keep the skies safe. Something like a border wall or a fortified security on our southern border has absolutely nothing to do with our jobs, so why are we getting involved in it?  So, it’s really a headscratcher for us, and it’s concerning. It should be totally separate from us.” [Hartford Courant, 1/12/19]


Chris Magee, Farmer: “‘We get a credit line from them every year to get on our feet,’ Magee said.  With the USDA offices shut down, he said he’s afraid he’ll get a loan later than usual to start farming this year.”  [Delaware Online, 1/11/19]


Donald Mihalek, U.S. Secret Service, Working Without Pay: “They are asking you to put your life on the line and not paying you — it’s ridiculous…Morale is a serious issue…This is an incredibly stressful job that requires your full attention, and if you are standing there thinking about your mortgage, or your credit card bills, or the fact that you are burning through your savings, you are distracted, you not able to give 100 percent.” [New York Times, 1/7/19]

Amanda Wagner, Furloughed Employee, U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission:“‘The uncertainty is scary…Frankly, I think it’s going to affect us if it lasts much longer. Then I think we will have some cash-flow issues,’ she said.” [AP, 1/4/19]

Ryan Baugh, Furloughed Employee, U.S. Department of Homeland Security: “I think one day of a shutdown is too much…As it goes on, the effects will be more strongly and widely felt.” [USA Today, 1/1/19]

Justin Cox, Small Business Owner, Atlas Brew Works: “The team at Atlas Brew Works prepared their special spring release the same way they do with every new beer. Late last year, they started fermenting, had a couple taste tests, and finally—the last step before canning the brew—they sent the design for the beer’s label out to the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau. Because of the government shutdown, the process halted there. Now the Ivy City brewery is stuck with a whole tank of IPA brewed with fresh apricots that may never hit shelves. ‘It’s fermenting, currently,’ says Justin Cox, Atlas Brew Works’ CEO and founder. ‘That will have to sit in our tank.’ … “There’s an opportunity cost of having beer sitting in the tank which we could otherwise have packaged, that’s a bottleneck in our production,” Cox says. It’s especially frustrating, he says, because “we spent the 4th quarter of 2018 planning what we’re going to release, our recipes, and marketing plans for new beers. Now we’re trying to execute that plan but we’re in a holding pattern.’” [DCist, 1/7/19]


Daniel A. Sobien, Furloughed Employee, National Weather Service: “Daniel is living on savings, said that federal workers are ‘tired of being political pawns.’ …‘I realize that unfair things happen to people all the time,’ he said, ‘but it really is unfair that because of politics, government employees have to shoulder the burden.’” [NY Times, 1/3/19]

Ray Coleman Jr., Federal Corrections Officer Working Without Pay: “They have to realize that this affects everyday people…It affects the boots on the ground. To me, it’s like a political chess game that they’re playing, and we seem to be pawns.” [NY Times, 1/3/19]


Kutonya King, Federal Corrections Counselor Working Without Pay: “‘Right now, the stress level is at 1,000,’ [she] said. Like other corrections officers, Ms. King said she was concerned about the safety of the inmates and of her fellow workers, who will have more and more to occupy their minds if the shutdown drags on.” [NY Times, 1/3/19]


Joseph Stoltz, U.S. Coast Guard Service Member Working Without Pay: “‘We are still operating as usual… [although] some nonessential civilian personnel’ have been furloughed, and ‘maintenance and training programs’ will be impacted. But the majority of the 300 Coast Guard personnel on Guam and in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands remain on the job. ‘Search and rescue, law enforcement, ports, waterways and coastal security, all those missions are still being performed,’ Stoltz said. However, he said, ‘Our paychecks could be delayed until the shutdown ends.’” [Guam Daily Post, 12/27/18]


Scott Pekalib, Furloughed Employee, U.S. Geological Survey: “‘The money’s out,’ said Scott. ‘We live paycheck-to-paycheck each week … It’s all gone. And now, to not know when the next time I’m going to be able to get money to buy gas — he’s got to go up to the doctor to have lab work done once a week, and that’s money. ‘And yesterday, I turned down a prescription because he has to have his. … The car payment is due, insurance is due next week. The phone bill is past due and this is our only means,’ he continued, holding up his cellphone. ‘I don’t have cable television, I don’t have a (land line) telephone. We just have our (cellphones) that we communicate on and entertain ourselves with. So that’s going to go off. I have no way to communicate with anybody, with his family, with my family. Hopefully the car will wait, and I think my friends and family will help with food until we can get by.’” [West Hawaii Today, 1/13/19]


Jay Doman, Nonprofit CEO, Eastern Idaho Community Action Partnership: “Our organization is reimbursement-based almost in total…So, our housing properties, the housing assistance payments that we receive, those are delayed. Our Head Start program, our CSBG programs that we have that are federally funded, we have to show that we have expended the funding before they pay us…. If it continues to go on and we have government employees that would normally process our payments not able to do so because they’re on furlough, that’s obviously going to delay our ability to pay vendors, pay employees and those that we owe money to.” [KIDK Local News 8, 1/8/19]


Dave Clark, Federal Corrections Officer Working Without Pay: “Our staffing levels, along with working conditions are decreasing, and along with that morale decreases…As the morale decreases, staff become less energized, less willing to come in and do a little extra, or work an overtime, now they get mandated and it’s more begrudging to them. Morale is going to continue to decline until something with staffing levels or working conditions go up … the shutdown only grossly increases the staff members stress and things like that.” [Belleville News-Democrat, 1/10/19]


Kristy Demas, Furloughed Employee, U.S. Census Bureau’s National Processing Center: “What I want to see happen is the government to reopen so that we can go back to work and get a paycheck…It is very frustrating that we are literally being held hostage by Washington, D.C… Now I can’t get my treatments at the end of the month because I don’t have the money for the co-pays, things like that. It’s just a whole added layer of stress on top of not working…As a family we try to help each other the best we can, but I’m the only one that works full-time. I have bills like everyone else.” [News and Tribune, 1/10/19]


Aaron Lehman, Soybean Farmer: “We rely on our USDA folks…It’s not worth putting up the wall to put us in this situation…We’re used to weather factors being out of our control. We try to deal with those the best we can…The patience runs thin for farmers when it seems like there are… crisis that’s invented or something that can be completely avoided. That makes no sense. It really makes farmers exasperated.” [CBS News, 1/11/19]


Shannon Ellis, Furloughed Employee, U.S. Internal Revenue Service: “We’re sitting here now waiting to find out if we have enough to meet our next month’s mortgage payment, to keep our cellphones on to get the call back…It’s just a nightmare. Definitely not a vacation.” [Kansas City Star, 1/10/19]


Stephen Creech, Corrections Officer Working Without Pay: “‘We have to report regardless of the pay status,’ explained Creech. ‘We’re considered furloughed, but we are still considered essential to where we have to report. The prison is not going to shut down. We still have to continue like we always do…. The federal employees being used as a pawn to gain leverage on whatever issues you may be wanting, this side or that side, it’s not political to us. We’re concerned about our paychecks and we shouldn’t be used as the pawn in order for one side or the other to gain leverage on an issue,’ said Creech.” [WKYT, 1/6/19]


Daniel Moragne, Federal Contractor:  “Daniel… is, at the age of 67, wondering if he’ll lose his apartment if the federal government doesn’t get its act together… ‘If I can’t pay my rent, they will probably move to evict me, and I’d be without a place to stay. … I might be able to stay with my brother who lives here in town. He’s fairly close. But that’s not a given…I don’t know… I just wish they’d do their job.’” [Huffington Post, 1/8/19]


Lindsay Scott, Spouse of  U.S. Coast Guard Service Member Working Without Pay:  “It’s very scary to know bills are due in a few days and people don’t care if we can pay them…It’s just a very big slap in the face. Just since we’ve been stationed here, he’s on a deploy-able ship. He’s gone 200 days out of the year and this is the thanks he’s getting. We’re going to have to beg family and take out loans just to make ends meet.” [News Center Maine, 12/28/18]


Jared Hautamaki, Furloughed Employee, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency: “‘Imagine. I’m 42 years old and my retired mother is calling to ask if I need a loan,’ Hautamaki said, speaking from his home in Silver Spring, Maryland, after finishing a shift that started at 4am. ‘I told her: not yet…. He let out a sigh. I hope it doesn’t come to that.’” [The Guardian, 1/9/19]


Mike Gayzagian, Agent Working Without Pay, Transportation Security Administration:“It’s a bizarre situation to be in, where you know you have go to work but you’re not getting paid…As a federal employee, we’re not supposed to be political…This is not our fight, but we’re being used as pawns…People can’t work in an industry that’s at risk of shutting down once or twice a year.” [AP, 1/4/19]

Joe Pinnetti, Federal Contractor: “The shutdown has already upended Joe Pinnetti’s plans for finishing his bachelor’s degree in information technology while working days as an IT contractor for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in western Massachusetts. Pinnetti has been unable to perform his $22-an-hour job since the shutdown began. ‘It’s going to be rough — I’m digging deep into my savings right now,’ says Pinnetti. ‘The problem is I’m already having to sacrifice things to do so: I might have to take a semester off from school to rebuild my savings.’” [NPR, 1/7/18]


Youssef Fawaz, Furloughed Employee, U.S. Customs and Border Protection: “I have a 5-month-old at home and it’s really come down to making a determination of: Are we buying diapers and formula next month or are we paying the mortgage next month….I’ve run into some issues with my creditors and explaining my situation. They’re all understanding … but they don’t have an answer for me. You still have to pay your mortgage.” [Detroit Free Press, 1/11/19]


Garret White, Federal Corrections Officer Working Without Pay: “‘There’s no income coming in,’ White said, adding that it is increasing the stress he feels in an already stressful environment.” [Star Tribune, 1/11/19]

Brian Garthwaite, Furloughed Employee, U.S. Food and Drug Administration: “…said he and his colleagues are in a bind because they can’t even get approval from an ethics officer to get another job while the shutdown continues. ‘There’s nobody there,’ Garthwaite said. One FDA compliance officer was out of the country on assignment when the shutdown took place. When he got back, Garthwaite said, he couldn’t file his payment voucher to be reimbursed. Yet if he doesn’t pay his credit card company on time, his credit score could be damaged.” [Star Tribune, 1/11/19]


Matt Issman, Government Contractor, U.S. Marshals Service: “[Matt] is familiar with the government shutdown routine. As a former federal law enforcement agent for 24 years, he has weathered several government shutdowns. ‘It wasn’t traumatic per se, because in past shutdowns we were all made whole and it never lasted beyond one pay period,’ Issman said. ‘But with the current White House administration, there’s no guarantee how long it will last.’ Issman is now a contract worker for the U.S. Marshals Service, and he’s looking at no paycheck for any days he’s called in to work. ‘It’s the nature of the beast,’ Issman said.” [Sun Herald, 1/11/19]


Julie Burr, Government Contractor: “Some contractors are turning to other means to make up for the lost income, like taking extra shifts at a second job.  Julie Burr, an administrative assistant for the Department of Transportation in Kansas City, said she doesn’t expect any compensation for the time she’s been out of work during the shutdown and that she can’t even get paid for the two weeks before it started because there’s no one to process her time sheet. She said she’s taken extra shifts in her side job… ‘I’m a single mom … we aren’t a two income family or anything. It’s just me, and I’m kind of trying to make things meet and if it comes to the point of selling items in the house I’ll do that,’ she said.” [ABC News, 1/2/19]


Michael DeGrosky, Chief, Fire Protection Bureau, Montana’s Department of Natural Resources and Conservation: “And we just found out yesterday that that session’s been canceled…. Some of the training sessions that are being canceled feed people into our incident management teams, and our incident management teams have some critical shortages in them. So it just puts us behind in that process of developing a pipeline of succession… One thing that people don’t quite understand is that fire in Montana is an interagency endeavor. Almost everything we do is a partnership between state, local, and federal government.” [Montana Public Radio, 1/10/19]


Tom Wilmoth, Small Business Owner: “‘We are generally ahead of the curve on filings and try to do as much in advance as we can,’ said Tom Wilmoth, one of the owners of the Lincoln-based craft brewer… But Wilmoth said all of those projects ‘will be held up’ if the shutdown continues… ‘They usually process labels in 10 days or so, but now it’s 45, and the backlog is growing daily,’ Wilmoth said in an email… ‘Pretty much anyone who ships beer out of state is affected, potentially,’ Wilmoth said.” [Lincoln Journal Star, 1/12/19]


Greg Seymour, Government Contractor: “Archaeologist Greg Seymour loves his job in the Great Basin National Park… ‘I’m working on a historic orchard that was planted in the 1880s,’ he says… ‘They sent e-mails out letting all of us know that work for them that we’re furloughed until further notice,’ says Seymour. What’s more, Seymour has little hope of being compensated for all the time he’s being furloughed from his $35-an-hour job… In this case, since I don’t work, I don’t get paid. So I’m out of luck.’” [NPR, 1/7/18]


Mike Gayzagian, Agent Working Without Pay, Transportation Security Administration: “Workers are being played ‘like pawns.’ ‘It’s going to put a burden on my finances,’ he said. ‘I’ll probably have to dip into my savings. People are feeling victimized, really, because it’s really unfair that we’re being thrown into the middle of a political fight that has nothing to do with us.’” [New Hampshire Public Radio, 1/10/19]


Edward J. Guster III, Furloughed Employee, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency: “…said his inability to inspect gas station leaks could contaminate groundwater: ‘From a local economic standpoint, we’re not here to shop or buy lunch in local restaurants…local businesses must be feeling that.’ .. In other federal departments, Guster said he has a cousin and a brother currently working for the government without pay. All the demonstrators said they will begin to struggle financially if the shutdown continues into another paycheck.” [My Central Jersey, 1/10/19]


Quantina Martine, Furloughed Employee, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service: “For three months, Martine has been pushing for the surgery she needs to relieve her symptoms, caused by a brain condition called a Chiari malformation. ‘With the shutdown, I definitely don’t have the money…Whatever I have, I have to save for rent or food.’” [Santa Fe New Mexican, 1/12/19]


Larry Hirsh, Furloughed Employee, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development: “‘The whole thing is frustrating. I see no reason for it…no reason why we shouldn’t be working, why we shouldn’t be helping groups that help the homeless, which is what I do…My agency, my job has nothing to do with the wall…’ Whether it’s vouchers that have to be reviewed before they can be paid or contracts that have to be signed before they can be renewed, that’s work that is not getting done by Hirsh or his colleagues as long as the shutdown continues. ‘People rely on federal funds to do positive things for society,’ he said. The federal workers themselves, he added, are middle class. ‘We’re the middle class Americans that everybody wants to help, and we’re being hurt. The people that we work with that help low and moderate [income] people are also being hurt.’” [Metro, 1/11/19]


Mac Johnson, Agent Working Without Pay, Transportation Security Administration: “‘There comes a breaking point and I think we’re very close to reaching it,’ Mac Johnson, a TSA agent at RDU Airport told ABC11. ‘I keep coming to work because, after the events of 9/11, I felt the obligation to keep protecting this country. That’s why I signed up with the TSA to ensure another event such as 9/11 never occurs again… It’s important to us for our mission at hand to have our undivided attention when we’re on duty, and I imagine it becomes more difficult to do so when you’re thinking about if you have enough gas to make it home or to pay my mortgage and have a home to go back to.’” [ABC 11, 1/12/19]


Tony Rowe, Federal Corrections Officer Working Without Pay: “He is working because his job is considered essential, but he is not being paid. He has six children and three grandchildren.” [Washington Post, 1/11/19]


Tomas Kaselionis, Working Without Pay, Federal Emergency Management Agency : “‘For me, it’s do I consider a car payment or do I pay the gas bill or the phone bill?’ said Mr. Kaselionis, who is working on typhoon recovery for the Federal Emergency Management Agency, unpaid and far from home in the United States commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands. ‘Those are conversations within the next week that I have to have with my wife.’” [NY Times, 1/3/19]


Megan Fitzsimmons, Federal Corrections Officer Working Without Pay: “‘Workers are almost in disbelief…We are doing what we’re supposed to do.’ … says many of her colleagues are worried about how they’ll pay for food, gasoline and the child care that allows them to work. She notes that creditors don’t have to give federal workers extensions because they’re not being paid. Prison paychecks are the sole income sources in many of their households, she said.” [, 1/8/19]


Audrey Lucas, Furloughed Employee, Federal Aviation Administration: “‘It’s very frustrating because to think of my grandkids. Where is their next meal coming from?’… She was forced to drive back to her job’s ‘home base’ from her current work location in Ohio after learning she’d be furloughed the day after Christmas… The federal government is the state’s largest employer because of bases like Tinker. As the shutdown drags on, Oklahoma families are wondering how much more they can take.” [News 9, 1/8/19]


Richard Kennington, Air Traffic Controller Working Without Pay, Federal Aviation Administration: “‘When people don’t know if they’re going to be able to meet their financial obligations, it has an impact on your psyche,’ Kennington said. ‘One of our controllers just had a baby today. And, that should be a happy and glorious event. However, she does not know how she’s going to pay her out of pocket expenses… The national air space system is grossly understaffed, we’re at a 30-year low… We are the safest, most efficient air space in the world. But, as we do this stop and go funding, as we fail to modernize, and we fail to staff our system, it has a compounding and insidious effect.’” [KPTV, 1/11/19]


La-Shanda Palmer, Agent Working Without Pay, Transportation Security Administration: “‘I don’t think anybody who works for the government is worried about if this wall gets built or not… They want to go back to work.’ She was concerned about paying her bills and racking up late fees, and providing for her family. She said she called her utility company hoping for an accommodation; she did not get a break.” [NY Times, 1/3/19]

Brian Turner, Agent Working Without Pay, Transportation Security Administration: “He has for six years enjoyed being ‘the last line of defense’ for people getting on airplanes. He endured a 16-day shutdown in 2013… ‘I love working for the country,’ he said. But, he added, ‘I can’t go two months without a paycheck.’” [NY Times, 1/3/19]

Rebecca Maclean, Furloughed Employee, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development: “Maclean, 41, said her family is trying to cut back on expenses. They stayed home for a movie night instead of going to a theater. Instead of takeout dinners, they eat leftovers… ‘I don’t know why they want to use 800,000 government employees to make a point,’ she said.” [AP, 1/4/19]

Nora Brooks, Furloughed Employee, U.S. Internal Revenue Service: “The 61-year-old Philadelphia native is a customer service representative for the Internal Revenue Service. She loves helping taxpayers navigate the IRS, including getting their refunds… For the past 13 days, she’s been furloughed, worrying about whether she’ll need to seek a second job. The agency requires pre-approval to avoid conflicts of interest, but there’s no one in the office to sign off… She stayed up until 3 a.m. Wednesday figuring out which bills needed to be paid and which could wait. The agency gave employees a letter explaining the furlough to creditors, but ‘it means absolutely nothing to them,’ she said. ‘You try not to freak out, but I don’t have any control over what’s going to happen next month. I’m second guessing. Should I have had a whole nest egg? Well, no, my pay doesn’t allow for that,’ she said.” [AP, 1/4/19]


Flo Rivera, Agent Working Without Pay, Transportation Security Administration: “[Flo] was visiting Washington from Puerto Rico, where she works as an airport TSA agent. The 53,000 employees of the agency are considered essential so will have to work without pay until a new budget is passed. ‘We still have to go to work. And the airport is not going to close (laughter), so we still have to go.’ Many like Rivera say they’re anxious…” [NPR, 12/23/18]


Mariah Battermann, Spouse of U.S. Coast Guard Service Member Working Without Pay: “It’s really difficult to explain to a four and six-year-old why their dad isn’t getting paid…We’re just trying to keep things as normal as we possibly can and make sure that we’re still taking care of our families and other families in the area also.” [ABC 6, 1/11/19]

Daniel Burche, Furloughed Employee, Transportation Security Administration: “When they shut you down and there’s no budget, that’s the whole issue – there’s no funding… ‘I really don’t know. We’ve hit uncharted territory. As with almost anything, if people aren’t getting paid and bills are coming too, it can have nothing but a negative impact,’ he said. ‘If you’re working you will be [made whole]. That’s a fact. The only real questions are if you’re furloughed, are you getting paid or are you not? None of us know that.’” [Warwick Online, 1/10/19]


Anthony Sederstrom, Retired, U.S. Coast Guard: “The stress, worry, and utter nonsense of this shutdown is beginning to affect citizens of this country in many unseen ways,…I am a 26-year veteran of the Coast Guard and although I received my retirement pay on the first of the year, February’s pay is in question.” [WBUR, 1/7/19]


Julianna Ellis, Furloughed Employee, U.S. National Park Service: “While Ellis was excited to see [Clemson] win the championship, she said it is frustrating and disheartening to see the problems of federal employees brushed aside for a celebration. ‘I have seen others not sure how they will pay rent or feed their families…It is hard to see people in my position struggling and then to have this sort of trivial event.’” [Independent Mail, 1/13/19]


Jason Wright, Furloughed Employee, National Weather Service: “‘I work with a gentleman whose wife has got to have some emergency surgery. Unfortunately he does not know if he is going to get paid,’ Wright said. ‘It’s just a toll, a very dark rain cloud. There’s no sun on the other side.’” [Nashville Public Radio, 1/11/19]


Gregory Watts, Federal Corrections Officer Working Without Pay: “One paycheck’s going to be difficult, let alone missing two or three paychecks… ‘Most of us aren’t getting paid a big salary. We’re living paycheck to paycheck,’ said Watts, whose national union represents over 700,000 government workers… ‘They are definitely relying on me,’ he said.” [Dallas Morning News, 1/11/19]

Kyle Coats, Federal Corrections Officer Working Without Pay: “‘It’s kind of a slap in the face,’ said Kyle Coats, who is also still working but not getting paid as a federal corrections officer near his home in Seagoville. ‘You’re being told you have to go to work, but you’re not being paid for it…’ Coats, the federal corrections officer in Seagoville, figures he can hold out about ‘two weeks max’ without pay and no more. ‘I’m not a rich guy. I live paycheck to paycheck.’” [Dallas Morning News, 1/11/19]


Krystle Kirkpatrick, Furloughed Employee, U.S. Internal Revenue Service: “…She’s already thinking about signing up to be a plasma donor to earn extra cash. That would bring in $200. ‘It’s not okay with me for my job to be used as a bargaining chip when people on either side don’t get what they want and they can’t come to an agreement,’ she said. ‘I just want to work.’” [Washington Post, 1/6/19]

Chris Erickson, Federal Contractor: “The father of three from Salt Lake City will then crack into his savings, and he’ll likely postpone a 14th wedding anniversary trip with his wife to a cabin…‘It feels like contractors are forgotten in the mix,’ he said. ‘Congress issues back pay for the government employees, and long-term contractors are ignored.’ …Erickson blames the shutdown on Trump and his demand for a border wall. ‘One can argue over the merits of border security,’ he said. ‘But if you really think about it, walls are pretty ineffective.’” [AP, 1/4/19]


Marlon Verasamy, Furloughed Employee, National Weather Service: “We’re all concerned about our families and what the future holds…It’s a day-to-day struggle for us, and it’s definitely an added weight and stress to all of us on top of the work we do here,” [NECN, 1/11/19]


Nargess Lakehal-Ayat, Furloughed Employee, U.S. Department of State: “Then there are the questions the single mother who said she lives paycheck to paycheck can’t answer for herself. How is she going to pay her $2,200 mortgage? Or her $356 condominium fee? She has borrowed money from her sister to get by. But the last paycheck from her State Department job as a language and culture instructor arrived earlier this month. And she doesn’t know when the next will arrive… ‘It’s a very stressful situation. You don’t know when it’s going to stop, when it is going to end,’ she said. ‘And I didn’t want to sit home anymore.’” [Washington Post, 1/11/19]


Paul Bodin, Furloughed Employee, U.S. Geological Survey: “‘We’ve been lucky and there haven’t been a lot of earthquakes,’ Bodin said. ‘As we move forward, particularly beyond next week, things are gonna get much more tenuous.’ [KUOW, 1/10/19]

Jessica Kostrab, Laid Off Employee: “Kostrab said without tourists, nearby businesses are hurting….’It’s weird not knowing whether or not I can buy groceries next week, or if I’ll be able to pay rent next month or if I can pay my car payment,” she said. ‘It’s saddening to see that this had to happen.” …She expects to get rehired, without back pay, when the shutdown ends.” [KUOW, 1/10/19]


Justin Tarovisky, Corrections Officer, Working Without Pay: “This time, it’s going to hurt a lot more because of the time of year it is…We work in a tough environment… Not only does it linger in the back of your mind, it kind of drives morale down a little bit.” [USA Today, 1/1/19]


Jason Monnett, Small Business Employee: “‘If this were to continue to drag out, that’s the jeopardy that we face, that there would be 10 to 15 small businesses each month that we wouldn’t be able to assist,’ Monnett said… ‘We’re generally looking at specific transactional needs, so they’ve identified a specific building to purchase or expand, they’ve identified some new equipment to purchase. Delays in doing those types of things can certainly have repercussions…’” [Wisconsin Public Radio, 1/7/19]


Todd Johnson, Furloughed Employee, Bighorn Canyon National Recreation Area: “‘I’m chomping at the bit to get back to work,’ Johnson said last week. ‘I love my job.’” [Powell Tribune, 1/8/19]


In The News



In The States

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