Govt. shutdown hits local federal employees in the wallet

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News 12 at 6 o' clock/ October 3, 2013


AUGUSTA, Ga.--It's day three of the government shutdown, and so far, there's no end in sight. The furloughs are hitting a lot of local familes where it really hurts: their wallets.

That's because while paychecks may not be coming in for hundreds of federal employees in our area, the bills still are.

Heather Menard is the wife of a Department of Defense civilian employee at Ft. Gordon. It's a scary time for them as they work to make ends meet. She worries she'll lose her SUV or her daughter's car. She says, "He's filed for unemployment, they told them they could do that, but when he went there yesterday, they told him the most he'd get for these four days is $50 bucks."

For families' like the Menard's, still feeling the effects from a 6 day furlough earlier this year, this pay cut hits hard. We spoke to another worried Ft. Gordon employee, afraid he'd lose his job if he showed his face.

He told us, "In my particular case, I was able to set aside money for the first furloughs, and we haven't had time to recover to prepare for this. It's just 'bam' it's there, and there's nothing you can do."

Menard says, "It's like, here we go again, but for this time, how long?"

The only help on Menard's side right now is in her freezer. She recently won a gift certificate for free groceries.

She says, "Everybody sees on TV, and the late night comics make a joke of it, 'Oh, does anyone even notice that the government is shut down?' Yeah, we do."

While Heather stays close to home to save gas, her husband is out applying for other jobs. He's even seeing if getting deployed for a 5th time is an option.

Menard says, "To some people, they're like, how can you wish for your husband to be deployed, well, when you're looking at something like this and it's your only option, you take what you can get."

Now, she's just hoping Congress can pass a budget soon, so she can salvage what's left of hers. She says, "Just come to a decision already because your constituents, all of them, both parties, are suffering."