Day 14 of Government Shutdown: Federal workers coping with scaled down paychecks

Day 14 of Government Shutdown: Federal workers coping with scaled down paychecks
Monday, October 14, 2013 - 5:42pm

Central El Paso Federal employee supports two households

Thousands of furloughed borderland families are running out of cash and are now forced with the tough decision of what to cut.

We spoke with one woman who's not only supporting herself -- but another family is well.
Barbara Robbins does her laundry as well as her daughter's and her grandkids. "It's been rough. It's been extremely tough,” Barbara Robbins, a Beaumont Medical Center employee said. Her daughter, Brenda, has been diagnosed with breast cancer and is currently recovering from a mastectomy. "She's still going through a lot of medical treatment and I'm supplementing her with my pay for her and her four children."

Because Brenda can only work part time, Barbara has been supporting two households. "At one point I was probably giving pretty much of it all except what I needed to pay for here at home,” Robbins said.

With her recent furlough, she's looking at half a paycheck to support her two homes. When we asked her if she ever thought of not paying for her daughter’s bills, she exclaimed that she would never do that and would do whatever it takes. Meaning, cutting things out of her budget that used to be cheap treats like pizza and movies.

UTEP economics professor Dr. Tom Fullerton explained Robbins and other furloughed workers slimmed down budgets, may impact the overall economy. "It starts to affect businesses and after a while it ends up causing disruptions in the local economy,” Dr. Fullerton said.

Barbara said if the shutdown continues, she may not be able to afford even simpler items. "It's about the little simple things in life. You know, your shampoo, your toothpaste… that we're not going to be able to afford here soon.”

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