World News‎ > ‎

"At The Mercy Of The Government" - Federal Workers, Contractors Brace For Shutdown

posted 30 Sept 2013, 10:22 by Sam Mbale   [ updated 30 Sept 2013, 10:23 ]

Federal workers and contractors in Washington brace for interrupted work and loss of pay as they face a looming shutdown because of a failure in the U.S. House of Representatives to craft legislation to fund government operations.

WASHINGTON, D.C., UNITED STATES  (REUTERS) -  Federal workers and contractors in Washington say they are frustrated with the atmosphere of uncertainty as Congress jostles back and forth on a funding impasse that threatens to push the U.S government closer to a shutdown at midnight Monday (September 30)

Federal worker Sharon Taylor said the looming shutdown concerned her because she was living paycheck to paycheck. She wanted Congress to find a solution.

"Get to work, so we can stay at work," Taylor said.

Yeheyes Wuhib, a journalist at federally-owned broadcaster Voice Of America said he was planning to dip into his savings if he stopped getting a paycheck.

"It's really scary. I am sorry for the federal worker to be penalized by people who can't make up their minds in Congress."

Angela Bymul, a contractor, said she was back at work after being recently laid off and didn't want to be unemployed once again.

"It's a little bit uncertainty considering the fact that I just went through a situation where I was just recently laid off from where I was at, so coming here was kind of a big deal, so hopefully we are not out long or if we are, then like I said, it's not too long and everybody gets their stuff together so we can start working soon. Hopefully we'll find out today, hopefully," Bymul said.

Another contractor, Jerry Tanner, said he was a single dad and had no other source of income to take care of his four-year old daughter.

"It's kind of one of those things you have to know that you are taking on the possibility of occurring if you are working for the federal government - kinda at the mercy of the government, unfortunately it's not like the government is at the mercy of you and your needs."

The Republican-controlled House of Representatives early on Sunday (September 29) passed a measure that ties government funding to a one-year delay of President Barack Obama's landmark healthcare restructuring law. SenateDemocrats have vowed to quash it.

If a stop-gap spending bill for the new fiscal year is not passed before midnight on Monday, government agencies and programs deemed non-essential will begin closing their doors for the first time in 17 years.

The high-stakes chess match in Congress resumes on Monday when the Democratic-controlled Senate reconvenes at 2 p.m. (1800 GMT). SenateDemocrats will then attempt to strip two Republican amendments from the spending bill: the one that delays the 2010 healthcare law known as Obamacare and another to repeal a medical device tax that would help pay for the program.

They would then send a bill with a simple extension of government spending back to the House, putting the legislative hot potato back in Republican House SpeakerJohn Boehner's lap as the shutdown looms