Federal employees working without pay call for an end to the shutdown

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EDISON -

Federal employees who are working without pay during the federal government shutdown held rallies across the United States calling on the Trump administration and Congress to come to an agreement.

The federal government has been shut down for 20 days while President Donald Trump and Democratic members of Congress feud over funding for border security and a wall along the U.S. and Mexico border. President Trump is asking for over $5 billion for the project, which Democrats won’t approve.

Workers at the Environmental Protection Agency in Edison held a small protest Thursday amid the shutdown.

EPA scientist Edward Guster says that he is feeling frustrated and financially worried.

“I take care of the mortgage and the car payment and the insurance and I had to call them and tell them that we’re going to be missing payments,” said Guster.

Muhammad Bilal Manj, a father of two, says that his wife does not earn enough money to cover their bills while he is on furlough.

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“I just canceled my TV service because I won’t be paying bills. And I was applying for lines of credit,” he says.

Many of the workers said that this is not the first government shutdown that they have had to deal with.

“I was in the shutdown in ’95, the one in 2013 and now this one,” says EPA chemist Kim Brandon-Bazile.

During past shutdowns when federal workers were furloughed Congress had decided to pay employees retroactively for the time they were not getting paid. It was not clear retroactive pay would be paid out in this case.

Similar rallies were held in New York City, Washington, D.C and in Kentucky outside the IRS service center.

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