Minnesota federal workers feel effects of partial government shutdown

December 29, 2018 10:09 PM

The ongoing battle over border security funding has forced a partial government shutdown into its second week.

Many federal workers in Minnesota won't see a paycheck again until sometime in 2019, according to the American Federation of Government Employees.

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The state has more than 16,000 employees, but Gregg James with the AFGE said it's difficult to tell how many are furloughed or are working without pay right now.

RELATED: Trump, Democrats play the blame game in 2nd shutdown weekend

But James said they are starting to feel the effects of the shutdown.

"There is anxiety on when it will end," James said during an interview with 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS. "[They say] when will I see a paycheck? When can I pay my bills or go to the grocery store for that matter."

James said many workers, who need to pay bills by the first of the month, are sending special letters to creditors and lenders, asking for some breathing room. The Office of Personnel Management posted sample letters and instructions on its website.

"I've seen one that talked about is it possible to barter," James said. "That I could do some work to lessen my rent."

He said the current state of affairs is hard on morale.

It's unclear when a deal could be struck to reopen the government, says political analyst Steven Schier.

"This could be the longest government shutdown in modern American history," Schier said, adding it could be weeks before a compromise comes up.

RELATED: Shutdown could block federal aid to farmers hit by trade war

Schier said that's because of the new makeup in Congress. 

"This is very unusual to have a shutdown in the midst of a major congressional transition, where a new party is taking control of the U.S. House," Schier said.

House Democrat leadership said their first vote will be on a plan to reopen the government, while President Trump continues to insist on money to fund a border wall.

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