The government shutdown is in its 18th day, and it has hundreds of thousands of government employees wondering how far they can stretch their paycheck. This Friday will be the first time since the shutdown they won’t receive one. NASA employees are among those affected.
“I’m prepared for the worst and dipping into my savings, that you don’t want to have to do but there’s a rainy day and it’s raining,“ says Bridget Broussard-Guidry, president of AFGE Local 2284.
She represents over 2,400 NASA employees. Three hundred twenty employees are deemed accepted for pay, 800 are on-call and the remainder are furloughed, herself included.
“You’re at home. You can’t do official work, and you won’t get paid until the government reopens, and if Congress approves to give backpay,“ she tells us.
NASA has experienced government shutdowns in the past, but this one makes them all feel uneasy since there is no end in sight. Many are feeling frustrated that they are being used as political pawns, having to dip into their savings or find other means. Other government employees are turning to social funding sites like GoFundMe to make ends meet.
“The GFC Federal Credit Union has offered interest-free loans to employees to help them get by. Unemployment is also an option. Family, depending on family members to make ends meet,” says Broussard-Guidry.
The only thing left for many is just to remain optimistic. On January 15, AFGE Union will hold a rally outside of NASA to protest the shutdown.