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As the chilly winds blasted throughout the streets of Washington, D.C., Thursday morning, George Moravec, 9, held a handmade sign that read; “Let my dad go back to work and get paid!!!”
Moravec and his family were just one of the thousands who were protesting in the hope of the government shutdown coming to end.
“My husband is the main breadwinner for our family. My son told me he was coming with us today,” said Maria Moravec, 45, whose husband works for the USDA agricultural research service.
“My husband is a government worker and he can’t get paid!” Moravec added. “And so it directly affects our ability to pay our mortgage, pay our bills and my husband hasn’t done a damn thing wrong!”
Along with the Moravec family, several other federal workers at the rally expressed their concerns about working full time and not receiving pay. With chants such as “We want to work!” “Stop the shutdown!” and “Pay the workers; Furlough Trump!” government workers marched in unison outside AFL-CIO in D.C. to the White House.
Currently, paychecks are on hold for 800,000 federal government employees, and if Congress cannot come to a mutual decision, the shutdown will go on longer – making it the longest government shutdown in U.S history.
“I am extremely stressed and frustrated. I’m holding back tears because I am trying to stay in a good mood to encourage other people,” said Lindsai Wallace, 34, a government employee who traveled from Philadelphia to D.C. to protest with others affected by the shutdown.
“I’m unable to pay my bills,” she said. “I’m unsure where my next paycheck will come from. I’m used to routine and routinely paying my bills, and this (the shutdown) has skewed my whole routine.”
Although the rally focused on federal government workers, many who were not government employees were in attendance. Families, spouses, residents and volunteers showed their support with chants and signs.
“Hopefully this rally puts more pressure on the leaders to accomplish a resolution,“ said Miguel Perez, 50, a volunteer who handed out signs that read “Hey let me do my job!” although Perez is a union worker and is not being affected directly by the shutdown, he said the issue was still very meaningful to him.
“This is very important,” Perez said. “We have a lot of people that want to work and they are not; this is just unconscionable. We really have to get this lockdown through; they (Congress) can always settle their differences later.”