Local federal employees brace for first missed paycheck due to shutdown

Local federal employees brace for first missed paycheck due to shutdown
Duane Spencer and his fiancé Elizabeth Carr are just taking it one day at a time, but they’ve found their situation becomes more dire by the day. (Source: WAVE 3 News)

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - The fear 800,000 federal employees share due to the partial government shutdown will become real when they miss their first paycheck Friday.

Duane Spencer has worked for the Census Bureau in Jeffersonville, Indiana for a year.

He said he saved a little bit of money before the shutdown, but that only goes so far when you’re living paycheck to paycheck. He and his fiancé are just taking it one day at a time, but they’ve found their situation becomes more dire by the day.

“We are behind on our necessity bills like electric, water, car payments, and now moving forward we are looking at what are we going to do for rent," Spencer said. “Our rent is over $900 a month.”

Spencer said the last check he saw was on January 3.

His fiancé, Elizabeth Carr, has a new job but it only brings in about $1,000 a month.

“[We’re] emotionally drained and stressed out,” Carr said. “It’s really stressful. [We’re] financially drained, just trying to make it, trying to figure out the next step.”

Spencer, who is not currently working, has been trying to apply for unemployment, but said it’s been a struggle to get it to go through.

“I’ve been homeless before," Spencer said. "I know what it’s like and I’ll do whatever I need to do to make sure I don’t go back to it.”

Even considering moving out of their home, the only comfort is knowing they have each other.

Spencer and Carr said they’re disappointed in the seemingly endless back and forth between lawmakers.

“They don’t have to worry about where their next meals coming from," Carr said. "They don’t have to worry about where the next rent payment is coming from. They’re taken care of.”

Spencer said he believes the country needs to unite, not just during a tragedy, but when its people need it most. He added that love should come before everything.

Spencer urges everyone, federal employee or not, to come out to the rally outside of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s Louisville office on Thursday. Federal workers and unions will gather to demand an end to the shutdown at 5 p.m.

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