HOUSTON (FOX 26) — Federal workers staged a protest outside of NASA’s Johnson Space Center on Tuesday where they demanded an end to the partial government shutdown, now in its record-setting 25th day.
Of the around 60 protesters staged along NASA Road 1, included were employees of NASA, TSA, EEOC and other federal agencies, all demanding one thing: they wanted to go back to work.
Protesters were heard chanting: "Make America Work Again! Make America Work Again!”
"We need to pay our bills now, so we need to get back to work and start getting paid again," said Silvia Hanagriff, a JSC employee.
Members of the American Federation of Government Employees organized the protest after receiving no pay on Friday, their first missed paycheck due to a government shutdown since the 1990s.
"During the Clinton administration, I think we missed one there, but other than that, it’s usually just been a few days, and they usually sort it out," said Mark Dillard, an engineer who has worked for NASA for 33 years. "This one seems a little more serious.”
Dillard said he is glad his wife works elsewhere during the longest government shutdown in history.
"Luckily, we’re a two-income family, so we’re doing alright," said Dillard. "We’ll be able to weather the storm, but I know a lot of people that won’t be able to weather the storm."
Parts of the federal government were shut down on Dec. 22 after Congress and the President failed to reach a spending deal on funding for border security the night before.
AFGE Union officials said 96 percent of NASA employees were told to stop working on Dec. 26 until further notice.
"We just want a pay day,” said Robert Pursell, one of the many who held up PayDay candy bars while protesting.
Pursell and his wife are rationing their spending while waiting to see when they’ll get paid next.
"We don’t go out to eat as much as we did," said Pursell. "We’re cooking at home. We shop at Dollar General."
In the meantime, the group of federal employees is keeping a close eye on Congress and President Donald Trump.
"I think both sides are just kind of waiting for the other one to blink," said Dillard.
For the employees who really can’t survive without a paycheck, a NASA official told FOX 26 News that the NASA credit union is giving a zero percent credit loan to its members in the amount of what their paycheck was supposed to be.