D.C.

Furloughed employees express relief with deal in sight

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ROCKVILLE, Md. (WJLA) - Now that a deal appears to be in sight on Capitol Hill, are furloughed workers feeling a sense of relief?

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As Steve Nothwehr’s patience dwindles, his backyard garden grows.

“I’m putting mulch down, clearing out some beds, getting things ready to plant other things next spring,” he says.

The furloughed NIH employee had been keeping tabs on Washington from his kitchen table - until the third day of the government shutdown.

“After a few days of that, I just felt like my blood pressure was just increasing and then I just disengaged and then you know, what can you do?”

But among the vegetables on Day 16 is a rumor of fruitful development on Capitol Hill.

Jim White was at the Montgomery County Public Library in Rockville when he received the news Wednesday. The NIH chemist is upset that Congress’ vote to the debt ceiling will only be a temporary fix.

“It just doesn’t help to come in, work for a month and then go through this all over again where we might have another four to six weeks where they bicker and argue,” he says.

Celebrating his birthday, furloughed worker Gary Rosenthal said no other job allows employees to avoid the inevitable.

“If I did the same thing at work, eventually they’d say 'we have issues, you’re out of here.'"

But for now, it’s people like Nothwehr who are out of luck and running out of time.

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