Lubbock workers not getting paid during shutdown; unsure how to

Lubbock workers not getting paid during shutdown; unsure how to pay bills

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LUBBOCK, Texas -

It is day 22 of the partial government and it is now the longest we have ever had. 

Caught in the crossfire, thousands of federal employees. Many of whom have missed their first paycheck. 

This is not a story that is far away. The politics of President Trump's border wall and now his shutdown are affecting folks in Lubbock like Eddie Cox.

"It's going to be scratching time trying to figure life out," Cox said. 

He has worked at TSA for 17 years.

"I pretty much do everything," he said. "Everybody up there is a dual function screener."

It has never been a high paying job but it has paid the bills and provides for his wife and two daughters.

"There ain't a whole lot of extra room for anything," he said.

His income is now drying up. He is one of the more than 800,000 federal workers whose pay stub had a whopping zero on it Friday.

"That changes the game completely. You start thinking hard about things. You start thinking when I gotta pay my rent, how am I going to pay my rent and the bill comes in from LP and L how am I going to pay that? How am I going to buy groceries."

Cox is not the only one in Lubbock feeling the crunch. Bill Hopkins is the Vice President of the National Weather Service Employees Organization. This is not his first go around.

"It's going to be hard for as long as this shutdown goes on but I think that I'll be able to make ends meet," Hopkins said.

While he is in a better situation financially, he has limited resources. If the shutdown continues he will be forced to look for other sources of income.

"Alternatives are maybe finding a part time job in the evenings somewhere," he said. "I love what I do, I'm committed to the National Weather Service and our mission of saving lives and protection of property across this country and so are all the other employees that work for the National Weather Service and it's very difficult."

It is not just federal employees suffering. The Miami International Airport was forced to close a terminal due to TSA workers not showing up to work. The National Weather Service is also experiencing its share of issues.

"We are beginning to see some degradation of our models and what that means is all the data because of the shutdown is not getting into the model data and thus causes degradation in the models of what they're forecasting," Hopkins said.

Both Hopkins and Cox said they are going to stick with their respective jobs and ride it out, but both want Congress to pay those who are working.

"Do your job," Hopkins said. "Do what you were elected to do, you know. And work together to resolve this and put it to an end because you are hurting a lot of people and you're hurting a lot of families."

"Fight the good fight but know what's expected of you in the long run," Cox said. "Know what we need in the long run, what really matters."

Congress did approve a bill to back pay the employees who have not been receiving pay checks once the shutdown ends. Until then Hopkins said some are having to make some serious cuts to stretch their money. Some have even cut back on their medicine to make them last as long as possible. 

Cox said his family will likely have to resort to eating nothing but beans and rice until he gets paid, which seemingly will not be anytime soon.

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