D.C.

Government shutdown 2013: Federal employees upset over shutdown

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WASHINGTON (WJLA) - The frustration is everywhere in the District's federal corridors.

Government shuts down

Worker after worker walked out of their government office on Tuesday, the first workday of the government shutdown.

They knew a shutdown was possible, but that still doesn't make Tuesday any easier.

Kennth Hartenstine has been a federal worker with the FAA for nearly four decades. He headed home Tuesday morning disappointed.

“I just wish that congress would get their act together and pass a bill to pay us,” he says. “All the other stuff they should negotiate but not at our expense.”

The last shutdown in 1995 lasted 21 days.

Linda Louers is worried the current shutdown could take as long.

“I'm very disappointed and angry because these people were voted into these positions and it if were me in my job I would've lost my job a long time ago,” Louers says.

The White House issued a letter Tuesday to all federal workers thanking them for their service and sacrifice saying, "this shutdown was completely preventable. It should not have happened. And the House of Representatives can end it as soon as it follows the Senate's lead, and funds your work in the United States government.”

Approximately 800,000 federal workers are now off the job without paychecks and no sense of when Congress will allow their lives to get back to normal.

Republicans in the House want the legislation tied to limiting funding for the new health care bill.

Late Monday night, the house passed a budget bill that would have delayed the individual mandate, which requires Americans to get health insurance.

It was quickly rejected by the Democrat-led senate.

"They've shut down the government over an ideological crusade to deny affordable health insurance to millions of Americans,” Obama says. “In other words they've demanded ransom for doing their job."

Republicans, meanwhile, are considering passing bills to reopen parts of the government, including National parks, Veteran’s Affairs and the D.C. government.

But they are accusing the president and democrats of failing to meet them in the middle.

"This table is empty on the other side,” says Eric Cantor, GOP House majority leader. “We need the senate democrats to come join us."

Darren Samuelsohn with POLITICO says much of this hinges on House Speaker John Boehner and whether he will support a government funding bill not tied to the health care bill.

"Certainly would upset the conservative base so that is a difficult calculation for him to make, but it is one that is on the table and continuing to be on the table," he says.

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