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'It's a big hit': Families hurting after government shutdown

Federal workers won't get paychecks tomorrow
Posted at 11:25 PM, Jan 10, 2019
and last updated 2019-01-11 12:43:51-05

CAPE ST. CLAIRE, Md. — 800,000 federal workers are not getting paid on Friday because of the government shutdown.

On Thursday night, the U.S. Senate voted on a bill to fund back pay for the workers once a deal to restore funding is reached, but it still does little to help families hurting right now.

"It's stressful. Extremely stressful. When you are in the military, you count on that paycheck," Cape St. Claire resident Mandie Jarvis said.

Mandie's husband Keith is on active duty in the Coast Guard, so he's working through the shutdown. He got his last paycheck on December 31, but they don't know when the next one will come.

"I only work 20 hours a week so I can't support our family if he's not getting paid so it's a big hit to us to not have income coming in," Jarvis said.

Now she's forced to think about finding a full time job to support her husband and 15-year-old son while making calls to politicians, hoping they will unite around those who serve. They are hoping Congress passes the Pay Our Coast Guard Act to ensure they are funded through the shutdown. They are the only branched funded out of Department of Homeland Security, not the Department of Defense.

"Active duty members at any time, no matter what is going on in Washington D.C., should be supported by their federal government," Jarvis said. "It's time that Congress stops allowing constituents to push them so far to either side that they can no longer meet in the middle."

Mandie is hoping the government can meet in the middle, not just for her husband, but for the thousands of federal employees dealing with the shutdown.

"It's a form of disrespect. It's saying you guys don't really matter," NASA Goddard Aerospace Engineer Anel Flores said.

After 35 years at NASA, Flores has been through lots of shutdowns but says this one might be his last.

"It's a lot of apprehension and additional stress that we have to endure and I'm wondering do I really want to do this anymore. I mean this part of it. I enjoy the work. I love the work. I enjoy the people but after 35 years, do I really have to go through this anymore?" Flores said.

As president of Goddard Engineers, Scientists and Technicians Union, Flores hears the impact from co-workers too. Paychecks are supposed to come tomorrow.

"People are already starting to make decisions about what bills they are going to pay; rent, mortgage, child care, college. For me, I have to pay for my daughter's college," Flores said.

Flores will be one of a handful of impacted federal employees meeting with Sen. Ben Cardin, Sen. Chris Van Hollen and Howard County Executive Calvin Ball for a discussion about the shutdown tomorrow at 9 a.m. at Savage Branch Library in Laurel.