Workers affected by shutdown ask lawmakers for help
BOYNTON BEACH, Fla. (WSVN) -- Business owners and furloughed workers suffering due to the government shutdown are asking lawmakers for help.
Federally-funded Head Start programs may have to close their doors without much-needed funds. "I feel bad because as I walked up here, I got handed an envelope with a resume of a Head Start worker who told me she's getting closed down in a week," Florida representative Lois Frankel said.
Several workers are facing similar fates if the shutdown does not come to an end. "This is the first time that I can remember where we've been mandated to come to work this time and not get paid," American Federation of Government employee Avon Sansone said. "No one's getting paid. Even though the resolution was passed that they would pay us later, what do you do with the interim? We live paycheck to paycheck."
Sansone represents more than 14,000 government employees. Only those labeled "essential" are forced to work, however, all employees, whether they attend work or not, will get back pay. "We have the public employees on paid vacation," Newton Cook of United Waterfowlers Association said.
Cook is an avid hunter and fisherman and because of the shutdown, all National Parks and Wildlife Centers are closed. "I'm out here as a political person," Cook said. "I'm here to speak for the people who are being punished and harmed by this shutdown."
John Marshall, of Everglades Restoration, said the shutdown will set them back several years. "When the refuge is open, there's a $5 entry fee that goes to support the refuge that we collect," Marshall said. "We're really afraid right now that the sequester will go on."
Rosemary Caddle had no idea the government shutdown would last this long. Caddle is a federal investigator who looks into workplace discrimination claims. Due to the shutdown, she hasn't been to work in a week. "How can they tell me, that's not essential."
In order to save money, Caddle cancelled a trip last week to Orlando to visit her new granddaughter, who was born four months premature. "I can't go see her and spend the money on gas, when I may need that money for food," she sad. "If I was there, I'd be able to touch her, talk to her, let her know that I love her and that I'm there for her and I can't do that."
Head Start programs fear local governments will have to bare the burden until Congress agrees on a budget.
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