Readers react: Federal employees, family members share 2013 shutdown experiences

Saturday , January 20, 2018 - 4:30 AM

ANNE CHRISTNOVICH, Standard-Examiner Staff

As of Friday afternoon, the odds of a government shutdown were, in the words of Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney, “about 50-50.”

The last government shutdown, from Oct. 1-17, 2013, affected 850,000 federal workers nationwide at its height. Here in Northern Utah, there’s plenty of people who fall into that category, with Hill Air Force Base, several IRS offices, the U.S. Forest Service and proximity to national parks and monuments. 

Hill Air Force Base employs 27,000 military and civilian personnel. About 13,000 civilian and 6,000 military members would be affected starting Monday if Congress can’t pull a short-term spending bill together. 

The Standard-Examiner’s printing presses began running before lawmakers’ midnight EST, deadline. At the time this was written, many federal workers and family members in Northern Utah were having a robust conversation about how the last shutdown affected daily life. The conversation is still valid, even if there’s an eleventh-hour deal. 

All quotes are verbatim from comments on the Standard-Examiner’s Facebook page.

Bob Adams: Last time, most federal workers got several days off and were later paid for that non-working time. There will be some inconvenience, but overall, no effect.

(Later, Bob Adams replied to commenters and said: Okay, you guys informed me of stuff I didn't understand or know. Thanks. Now we just need to get people out of Washington who play those tricks for their own satisfaction. Those are the senators and representatives who hold up the votes.)

Troy Burgess: Not all government workers were reimbursed. I and several others lost 16 days of pay.

Leah Miller: My husband is essential so he had to work and didn’t get paid until it reopened. It took us a year to recover from that. Yes he did get paid but we had bills we had to pay that we couldn’t because all our money had to go to rent and food at the time. He also had to figure out how to get to work everyday when we had no money for gas. We are in a much better financial place this time but it still is going to hurt.

Tracy Rose-Erickson: The stress of not knowing if you will get paid and when isn't right. Not knowing if you'll have the money to pay all your bills, etc is just BS.

Aj Perkins: Going 16 days without assurance of a pay check is very stressful. Then getting paid for those days makes you feel guilty. Also due dates and deadlines don't get extended during that time, everyone still wants their reports and work done.

Golden Barrett: I’m a firefighter for the federal government and have to report to work. Could be working for free.

Jim Wempe: Who's fault is this?

Matt Hinds: Trump will find a way to blame Hillary for this. It's so pathetic. Don't get me wrong, I don't like the Clintons at all, but this really is just getting sad and silly. Why can't you people see that you're being conned by a fake Christian ripoff artist?

DeeJay Homer: Matt Hinds the last shutdown was on republicans; totally.

This one is on democrats. Totally.

While republicans do have majorities in both houses of congress it takes 60 votes in the senate to get this passed.

To make matters worse there is nothing in the bill democrats are against. They simply want to cause trouble.

Mitchell Mordaunt: The dems are at fault for their thoughts of "resistance" rather than compromise.

Curtis Watkins: Children! If a business had employees acting like they are acting, they'd be fired immediately. Why don't we fire them? Can't do your job and want to turn it into a sideshow, you're gone, regardless of which side of the aisle you call home.

Jackie Parker: I was off and later got paid. The problem is not that, the problem is I spent 2 days this week wasting taxpayer money just to prep our employees and our operation for this potential shutdown. And then I spent weeks cleaning up the aftermath and procedural items in addition to cases that had statutes that expired and we lost that money too. It is just dumb.

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