Relief for federal employees heading back to work

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Updated: Thu, 17 Oct 2013 07:15:39 CST

Imagine missing one day's worth of pay or even two. Try more than two weeks. It can take a toll on you trying to pay the bills.

That's the stress government workers have faced the past two weeks.

Food news came in the form of a debt ceiling deal on Wednesday night and thousands of government workers headed back to work Thursday, including right here in central Nebraska.

Test tubes and syringes sat unused for weeks. Here at the Meat Animal Research Center in Clay County workers are getting down to business as they play catch up.

Research was halted after the 100 federal employees were forced to stay home.

"There's a lot of activities going on here and the time off sort of slowed us down a little bit but it's good to be back and things are going to get back on track." Said Dr. John Pollack, Director of the Meat Animal Research Center.

Here at the National Weather Service it's not a matter of getting back to work. They've been working, just without pay.

"We can't make our mortgage payments, we can't pay for gas to get to work." Said Steve Eddy, Meteorologist In Charge at the National Weather Service in Hastings.

The National Weather Service was exempt from the shutdown because without them a disaster could be even more devastating.

Tornadoes struck northeast Nebraska and blizzards hit western Nebraska just 4 days after the shutdown began.

"The whole reason we're not on furlough is because we're supposed to be here to save lives and property." Said Eddy.

They'll keep forecasting with or without pay, but, as of Wednesday they have assurance they'll be reimbursed for the past few weeks.

"It's great that we're going to get a paycheck now. That's certainly a relief." Said one National Weather Service employee.

Though some people are still not at ease.

"Realistically we struggled to get through this, January 15th are we going to be in the same boat?" Said Eddy.

That short term bill to reopen the government only lasts three months.