Kansas City federal employees head back to work

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Washington is back to work, the government shutdown is over, and a short term deal is in place to increase the debt ceiling.

Federal employees in Kansas City and across the country are back on the job Thursday after a 16-day partial government shutdown.

There are 28,000 federal workers in the Kansas City metro, including those who work at the Richard Bolling Federal Building.

A dozen or so employees heading into the building Thursday morning said they have a message for Congress: "Don't do this to us again."

Some of the employees have been furloughed for the past 16 days, others have been working without pay. The individuals 41 Action News spoke with said the past two weeks have been stressful and upsetting.

Rhonda Vittengl was furloughed from her job with the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. She says she had to cut back on grocery shopping and tried to use less electricity in her home to make ends meet.

"I had to cut my grocery bill back a lot. I wasn't able to eat the way I like which is healthy, and I kept the lights turned off a little more and TV off a lot. I cut back on little things like that," she explained.

Vittengl wants those in Congress to stop bickering and start compromising.

"Get your head out of your hind end!" she exclaimed referring to members of Congress. "A lot of people are losing a lot of money and couldn't pay their bills or feed their families and there's no sense in it."

While many Kansas City federal workers are happy Congress avoided a shutdown, they wish the leaders in Washington would have opted for a long-term solution so they don't have to worry about this happening again in January.

Monica Tisch has been working unpaid for the Social Security Administration since the partial government shutdown.

"It's fun to be off work when you get paid for it, but if you're not getting paid for it, it gets really tight. I have a lot of friends in that position," she said.           

Her co-worker Mark Mohler added, "We're very thankful that it's over and hopefully our Congress can work together for a change in the future."

The latest estimate is that the government shutdown had a $24 billion impact on the economy.

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