Northlanders Frustrated Despite End of Gov. Shutdown

Posted at: 10/17/2013 5:35 PM | Updated at: 10/17/2013 6:32 PM
By: Travis Dill
tdill@wdio.com

The federal government shutdown ended Thursday, but Northlanders were still raw over how politicians handled the budget crisis.

Hundreds of thousands of furloughed federal employees went back to work Thursday.

In Duluth that meant hundreds of military technicians with the 148th Fighter Wing got back on the job. Some employees, like the air traffic controllers at the Duluth International Airport, worked for two weeks without pay. Government officials said the federal workers will get back pay, but those checks will not come until Oct. 29.

Don Muzzi of Duluth said details like that show the government shutdown was a fiasco.

“Well, actually I think it's a shame. I think it's a shame that I came to this. I think that the folks in Washington have become very dispassionate and concerned only about their own needs, that being to be re-elected, and they forgot who they're there to serve and who put them in office,” Muzzi said.

He said the politicians didn't solve the budget problem.

“I feel that all we're doing is delaying the inevitable and keep punting the football so to speak, just pushing it down the road, and we have this problem coming up in I believe another 60 or 90 days,” Muzzi said.

The deal Congress passed on Wednesday only funds the government through Jan. 15, and extends U.S. borrowing authority until Feb. 7. That short deadline deflates news that federal workers will get their first pay raise in three years on Jan. 1. The bump will give federal employees a 1 percent raise.

Titi Smith of Superior said the federal workers deserve to get their pay.

“I feel like they should be able to get paid for that time off because they suffered long enough,” Smith said.

However, Muzzi said small businesses were likely the ones the shutdown hurt the most.

“Government workers that are sitting at home are going to come back and get paid. I suppose that's OK. Who I feel for is the guy that's maybe selling sandwiches outside the capital, and who's going to take care of him because he didn't do his business for the last couple weeks,” Muzzi said.

The federal government got back up and running, but Northlanders were left questioning their representatives in Washington.

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