Jenks Couple Both Furloughed By Federal Government Shutdown

Wednesday, October 2nd 2013, 5:12 pm
By: News On 6

More than 800,000 government workers have been furloughed because of the partial shutdown. They're not supposed to have any contact with their supervisors and can't use government issued phones or computers.

News On 6 talked with a Jenks couple on furlough, who said their biggest fear is paying the bills.

Brad and Renee Fuhrman are like everybody else--they're working hard to put food on the table and a roof over their heads. But they also work for the federal government and now their paychecks are up in the air.

They are both federal government employees, Renee with the Bureau of Land Management and Brad with the General Services Administration, so instead of being at work Wednesday, they were at home, trying to find ways to pass the time.

"I really was just hoping for the best and it was really a surprise that it happened," Renee said.

The couple stayed up late Monday night watching the countdown to the shutdown.

10/1/2013 Related Story: Federal Government Shutdown Begins

Brad said it was like going through a bad break-up when the hammer dropped and he was officially furloughed.

"At first you're just so angry and then after that, you're helpless and then you're in survival mode," Brad said.

Brad's GSA issued laptop just sits on his desk now. He's been ordered not to even turn it on.

The Fuhrmans estimate they've lost out on $500 so far, between the two of them, during the furlough, although both are aware that, after furloughs in the '90s government employees were given back pay.

But Renee said that potential doesn't make her feel any better.

10/1/2013 Related Story: Government Shutdown Affecting Osage Nation WIC Program

"One of the things they keep saying over and over again is that, 'Well, they're going to get paid eventually.' I don't know a lot of people that could get paid eventually and be okay," Renee said.

The Fuhrmans said their goal now is to find ways to pay their mortgage, car payment, and childcare. Both hope Congress comes to a resolution very soon.

"We work so hard everyday for our country, and it just feels like they've turned their backs on the people that are working the hardest for them," Renee said.

The Fuhrmans have been told they can file for unemployment, but they said, right now, they don't plan to do that. They're going to dip into their savings first and hope the furlough doesn't last very long.