Locals breathe a temporary sigh of relief to the end of the government shutdown

News 12 at 6 o' clock/ October 17, 2013

AUGUSTA, Ga.--The shutdown is over for the time being and a lot of folks in our area are breathing a temporary sigh of relief.

The impact has hit our area hard. Employees who work for private contractors, like many at SRS, won't qualify for back pay. Not to mention the impact of cancelled events like the annual Boshears Skyfest, annual deer hunts out at SRS, and all community outreach events at Fort Gordon.

Even for the workers promised back pay, like many out at Fort Gordon, it's been a stressful month. Heather Menard's family falls into that category. Her husband is a 'non-essential employee' at Fort Gordon, and even though they've been promised back pay, they aren't sure when they'll see that money.

She says, "We've asked, 'When is it going to show up?,' and they say they don't know yet."

For thousands of Americans working paycheck to paycheck, the end to the shutdown is a relief, but only a temporary one.

Menard says, "It's just being pushed back, so now we have to plan ahead. We are going to have to build a bigger cushion this time and prepare for the possibility of it happening again."

Wednesday night's vote didn't solve the budget crisis, or the debt ceiling issue, it just pushed back the deadlines. January 15th is the new deadline for adopting a budget, and February 7th is the new deadline for raising the debt limit.

Congressman Barrow was back in the district office in Augusta Thursday. He said, "We'll be at the same position at those two dates...that we were in until yesterday."

And, as Congressman Barrow points out, not everyone will qualify for back pay for the 16 day shutdown.

"It won't take care of folks who are government contractors, people not employed by the government, but are employed by folks who have government contracts, like out at SRS," he said.

For many Americans, like Menard, the biggest price paid in the shutdown is the loss of trust in Congress. She says, "It was so childish and was like watching kids on the playground, folding their arms and stomping their feet, and in the meantime, people at home are literally suffering."

Economists estimate the shutdown will ultimately pack a punch of about $24 billion in lost wages, lost productivity, and trickle down effects to the economy.

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