Federal workers express frustration as shutdown stretches on

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Now that the Christmas holiday has come and gone, Wednesday marked the first full business day of the partial government shutdown.

That means about 420,000 federal employees who are deemed “essential” went back to work without pay. Another 380,000 federal employees are furloughed. And none of them know when their next paycheck might be coming.

“When you’re living from paycheck to paycheck and you’re counting your dimes on how to manage them and live – it’s scary,” said LaTeashea Lofties.

Lofties says she works at the Department of Justice, and got word over the weekend that she was being furloughed.

“I was supposed to be on leave this week, to spend time with my family, my husband and my son, but I got a call from my supervisor saying that there is a government shutdown and I’m going to be furloughed, and that I won’t get the opportunity to use my leave, because I’m now furloughed,” she said.

She wants people to know that the federal workers impacted by the shutdown are real people with real families, real bills, and real worries about how they’ll make ends meet as the shutdown stretches on.

“We just don’t know how long it will take,” said Lofties. “And with Congress and the President going back and forth, they’re unaffected. So they don’t have the concerns of people living paycheck to paycheck.”

ABC7 met Lofties at &pizza in Northwest Washington, one of several businesses offering special deals and discounts to federal workers impacted by the shutdown.

The pizza place was packed with federal workers on Wednesday, after tweeting that government employees would receive complimentary pie from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. every day for the duration of the shutdown.

“That is such a blessing,” said Lofties. “It’s such a charitable thing to do.”

Chef Jose Andres was actually the first to offer a shutdown special for government workers, tweeting that all federal employees and their families would receive free sandwiches at any of his restaurants, from 2 p.m to 5 p.m every day, until they go back to work.

Z-Burger offered free burgers for furloughed government workers at its Tenleytown location on Christmas Eve, and says it will do the same on December 27 from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Lofties says that at this point, every little bit helps.

“I’m very appreciative,” she said. “It helps lift our spirits too, and helps us deal with this mess, until it’s over.”

Congress is not set to return from its holiday break until Thursday. On Wednesday, President Donald Trump again said there will be no deal without funding for a border wall.

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