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Federal worker in Tennessee prepares for first missed paycheck due to government shutdown

Cropped Photo: Martin Falbisoner / CC BY-SA 3.0

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WZTV) - Hundreds of thousands of workers in a variety of federal agencies are about to feel the impact of the government shutdown. Friday, for the first time, they will miss a paycheck because of the shutdown.

On day 20 of one of the longest government shutdowns in history, FOX 17 News spoke with a Middle Tennessee father of three who works for the IRS, and will go without a paycheck Friday.

He has requested to remain anonymous.

“You can have savings, and you can plan for emergencies, but at some point, those are still going to run out,” the employee said. “You have a job, and you expect to get paid at regular intervals, and when you don’t have that, it changes a lot of plans.”

This is the worker’s fourth government shutdown, and he said he and his family have saved money for this type of emergency.

Still, he said he’s concerned with how long the shutdown could last.

“So the unknown part is really what causes you to worry the most, because if this lasts months and months, that’s a whole different story than lasting two or three weeks,” he said.

The federal worker said some of his friends in this same situation who are living paycheck to paycheck have been forced to take out loans, and even sell items to make ends meet.

“It’s a tough thing to work for a living, and then have to ask for help,” the worker said.

In an interview with FOX 17 News, Governor Bill Haslam weighed in on the current shutdown.

"We're not elected to shutdown government. we're elected to solve problems,” Governor Haslam said. “Unfortunately, we've gotten to a place in this country where we're pretty evenly divided, but unfortunately we're mad about it."
While the future is still unclear, many are left feeling on-edge.

“That’s the worst part of it all, is, you do a good job and you work hard, and everyone wants to feel appreciated, but yet, when something like this happens, you feel like just nothing but a pawn in a bigger game of politics,” the federal worker said.

According to statistics from Career Builder.com, close to 80% of workers in the U.S. live paycheck to paycheck to make ends meet.

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