Shutdown Squeezes Paychecks


When the wheels of government began to grind to a halt in Washington this week, the paychecks of some people in the heartland were ground-up in the screeching gears.

The Women, Infant and Children's program in Council Bluffs is feeling the squeeze. The office serves approximately 3,000 people.

WIC Program coordinator Kristine Wood said, "We've been hearing a lot of questions. We've had a lot of questions. Can I use my checks?"

Wood says funding came to a halt three days ago but, "we did have some good news this morning. We were told we could issue October checks starting this morning."

She says the USDA was able to move some unspent money around to fund the program through October. They're trying to get the word out to anyone who might have been turned away earlier this week.

Across town, at the Social Security Administration, a notice has been posted informing people that some services are not being offered due to the DC gridlock.

In Bellevue, Offutt Air Force Base civilian employee John Ralston has been keeping busy with some projects around the house while posing a question to the House and the Senate.

"Why are we being used as pawns in all this? It is not right," he said.

The carpenter is among 2,000 furloughed civilian workers at the base. He says he worries about those who are living paycheck-to-paycheck.

"If they have two people in the family who work on base, and I know a couple, it's going to be a rough one."

House Republicans have scheduled a vote on legislation backed by some of the chamber's top Democrats to give federal workers furloughed in the ongoing partial shutdown their missed pay when the government reopens.

It's no fix for immediate cash flow troubles and there's no guarantee of approval but the vote could come as early as Friday or over the weekend.


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