ALBANY, N.Y. – As federal employees head back to work, there is still a lot of confusion and anger around how a shutdown of this magnitude could happen.
Many federal workers were furloughed, meaning they've been without pay since the government shutdown began. They're the casualties in the government battle, many of them struggling to make ends meet through no fault of their own.
When the shutdown began they were told to report back to work on their first scheduled day after an agreement was passed. The deal that ended the shutdown does include back pay for the employees, but when that money will actually be delivered isn't clear. There's also some confusion about when and how reopening government will work — there are tens of thousands of workers impacted. Some federal workers say they took their job in part for the stability, and so for them it's been especially frustrating.
“We don't have the ability to do what the government does. We can't call our creditors and say hey you have to wait because everybody else is waiting. Often a politician will say that's all right I will hold off. We all know he's going to get paid. He's just building up his check,” said federal worker Keith Karn.
“People are glad to get back. This is what we're supposed to be doing. We love serving the public and happy to be able to do our jobs,” said Barney Horowitz.
Horowitz has been a federal worker for over 38 years. He calls that unpaid break frustrating but explains that for many of his fellow workers it was even more challenging as they struggled to make ends meet.
As one worker put it, “the bills keep coming and the companies don't put the due dates on hold.”
And many of the employees say they're infuriated that the deal in place just moves the deadline to January, with that in mind, Horowitz had a message for Congress.
“The shutdown as a tactic doesn't work. It hurts so many parties, so many people. Let's do business. Let's reach our budgetary deals on time and let us serve the public in the manner we're supposed to.”
NEWS10 ABC caught up with Congressman Chris Gibson, a
republican and Congressman Paul Tonko, a democrat, after they arrived back in the Capital Region. Both say they are opposed to the government shutdown and were
disappointed it lasted as long as it did. Now they say their focus is on
January and reaching a deal before that new deadline.