People speak out about the shutdown

Low-wage federal contract workers such as janitors, security guards, and cafeteria workers tell U.S. senators how the government shutdown has affected their lives. Contract workers don’t get backpay.

“I don’t know how I will pay the $250 a month for my son’s medication [for ADHD]. My husband and I have put ourselves on a macaroni and cheese and grilled cheese sandwich diet so the kids can eat.” —Furloughed federal worker in a CNN interview

On Jan. 16, a panel of US senators heard testimony from some low-wage federal contract workers such as janitors, security guards and cafeteria workers about how the government shutdown has affected their lives. Below are excerpts from the testimony of some of those workers:

“I’m the head of the household. I have two children on asthma machines that need a machine every four hours. I have an electric bill that’s due and is about to be disconnected, a car note that’s two months past due, they’re about to take my vehicle. I have blood pressure medicine I need to take. I just brought my mother to live with me, because she’s losing her eyesight. I don’t know why Trump is holding us hostage. I don’t care about no wall. He didn’t ask me did I want a wall built up. He’s a billionaire. Why shut down the government and take our money to build a wall? All we want to do is work and provide for our family.”

“Today I don’t have health insurance. I don’t have much money to send to my mother, who is in Africa sick in bed. I don’t why Trump or whoever signed with him this shut down; we have to be open right now. I don’t want to be homeless, and I’m working 20 years in America.”

“We don’t want it to get worse that what it is. It can make a riot, anything can happen. You don’t mess with people’s money and people’s family. A lot of people live paycheck to paycheck and no one is helping them.”

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