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Scores of federal employees described the negative impact of the federal shutdown on their families and finances in a Columbus Day demonstration in Manhattan organized by U.S. Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-Astoria).
Charley McNally, of Sunnyside, said that after two weeks without pay he was ready to file for unemployment. Congress deadlocked over an agreement to continue to fund the government Oct. 1, throwing many federal workers out of work and closing some agencies.
“We’ve already cut back on all but essentials and our cushion is running out,” said McNally, 33, who works as a portfolio specialist for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and has a wife and 6-month-old son.
His wife, who works part time, is the family’s only wage earner. McNally said the forced furlough had already cut his pay by $1,500 and they were considering taking out a loan to make their November mortgage payment.
The demonstration took place in front of the midtown Manhattan Social Security office at 41st Street and Second Avenue as the government shutdown moved into day 14. The demonstrators included many employees of the Internal Revenue Service, who hoisted placards proclaiming “End the furlough.”
Maloney said the shutdown had affected 50,000 federal employees in New York City as well as numerous small businesses and “an untold number of people who need government services.”
“This shutdown should never have happened, but because of the demands of the most extreme elements in Congress, it did,” Maloney said. “And now the country is saying loudly and clearly it needs to end.”
Nancy Goshow, of Goshow Architects, a Manhattan firm, said “the government shutdown is killing small business.”
She said the shutdown has crippled her operations, invoices for $160,000 could not be processed and she might have to lay off one-third of her staff.
“The Tea Party leadership of the Republican Party has totally mistreated federal workers,” said Linda Mason, political and district legislative coordinator of a federal workers union.
“The Internal Revenue Service had to effectively stop collective activities and curtail audits as well as its efforts to combat fraud, such as identity theft and the hiding of taxable funds in offshore accounts,” said Frank Heffler, president of a labor unit of IRS employees. “The agency is not performing any planning, research or training and development activities, which is important to keeping up with changes in the tax code.”
Reach contributing writer Philip Newman by e-mail at email@example.com or phone at 718-260-4536.
©2013 Community Newspaper Group
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