WASHINGTON – On the 20th day of the partial government shutdown, U.S. Senator Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) on Thursday took to Facebook live to share some of the letters and emails he has received from people in Connecticut affected by the partial government shutdown. Nine federal agencies have been shut down and about 1,500 federal employees in Connecticut have been either furloughed or working without pay since December 22nd, 2018. This has hurt many families who live paycheck to paycheck to cover expenses, like Courtney, a U.S. Coast Guard mom from Northford who wrote to Murphy that she has children with special needs and because of the shutdown is unable pay for gas to take her children to their medical appointments or obtain their necessary medications.
“Keep on writing our office. Keep on letting us know what your feelings are about this shutdown. If you are a federal employee or somebody affected by the shutdown, we do want to hear your story because I want to share these stories with my colleagues. I want to make sure everybody here in the Senate knows that this isn’t theoretical, this isn’t political, this is real,” said Murphy.
Here are some excerpts from the stories Murphy received:
“This is becoming a very stressful situation, financially. The idea that this would go on for months and years is disconnected from what is happening to real people across Connecticut,” said Tori who lives in Stamford and works at the Danbury Federal Prison.
“Folks just want to get back to work no matter what side of the issue that they are on. I don’t understand how people in the Coast Guard and working on our border are not getting paid over a shutdown about more border security,” said David, a U.S. Coast Guard Academy worker from Stonington.
“I’m a single father of my daughter, and she relies on me to be her sole provider. I have a home and mortgage. It’s a hard time to be in. I’m forced to continue to go work or face the possibility of losing my job,” wrote Bryan, president of the local National Air Traffic Controllers Association in New Haven.
“I am considered an essential employee and am currently working in excess of 50 hours a week with no pay, furthering US policy goals in Afghanistan. I am concerned that I will not be able to make my mortgage payments, and that our credit card bills are going to skyrocket for daily living expenses. I also had to defer my son's tuition payment and am not sure I will be able to handle this without taking a loan, costing me more money in the long term. My family's well-being is dependent upon my salary. It would be easier if I was in the US and considered non-essential, then at least I could find a job outside of the government to make ends meet,” said James, a State Department employee who is currently assigned overseas in Afghanistan.