WASHINGTON- It’s day 20 of the government shutdown, and hundreds of thousands of federal workers are watching their bank accounts dwindle.
They will not get paychecks this week. Nor will tens of thousands more contract workers at government facilities.
Thursday on Capitol Hill near the White House, some of those workers gathered to protest and demand an end to the government shutdown.
Nicole Jollah works for the Census Bureau, and is one of an estimated 800,000 federal workers who won’t receive a paycheck on Friday.
“I’m not going to have enough money to pay my bills or my creditors,” says Jollah.
With no end in sight, families are worried about their financial future.
“It’s hard to budget,” says a spouse of a federal worker. “We are able to get by in the short term, but not forever.”
At another rally near the U.S. Capitol, members of the National Air Traffic Controllers Association voiced frustration over the shutdown’s impact on TSA agents and the airline industry.
“Safety and security are non-negotiable,” says Sara Nelson, the International President of the Association of Flight Attendants. “Open the government today!”
Federal workers say they want Congress and the President to do their jobs and reopen the government so federal employees can get back to work.
Sen. Mark Warner (D- Va.) says he wants border security, including drones, but won’t support funding for the President’s border wall.
“This is a man who is throwing a temper tantrum and holding these folks hostage,” says Sen. Warner.
“And the people will be paid, but maybe a little bit later,” says President Donald Trump. “Those people, many of them are on my side. They want to see border security.”
If the shutdown drags on, Jollah says she may have to file for financial assistance, but she says she prefers a paycheck over an unemployment check.
“We need to work and get a paycheck,” says Jollah. “We shouldn’t have to depend on the government.”
Federal workers say they’re depending on Congress and the President to reach a compromise soon.