Constituents advise Congresswoman on shutdown

4:34 PM, Oct 7, 2013   |    comments
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WASHINGTON (WUSA9)  --  With no solution to the government shutdown in sight, Maryland Congresswoman Donna Edwards is turning to her constituents for advice.  

On Monday afternoon, the democratic congresswoman invited three furloughed federal employees from her district to her office on Capitol Hill.  

"I feel like I'm being held hostage and I feel like I'm being bullied," said Julia Michaels, who works for the centers for Medicare and Medicaid.  

"It's a sense of not counting that bothers me," said Emma Antunes, who works at the NASA Goddard Spaceflight Center.  "I work for the government because I believe in it."

"You can't sleep at night and you're constantly wondering how are the bills going to be paid?" said Seconda Tyson, whose been an employee at the Environmental Protection Agency since 1989.   

One temporary fix that's been tossed around by House republicans is to fund some parts of the government and not others.  But all three of the furloughed workers meeting with Congresswoman Edwards told her that the federal agencies they work for are too interconnected for that proposal to work.

"For example, it wouldn't make sense if the NOAA folks went back to work, but the NASA folks didn't go back to work, right?" asked Edwards.

"Right.  No projects wouldn't move.  Nothing would get done," said Antunes.  

Antunes, Michaels, and Tyson say all they want is to go back to work and get a paycheck.  Even so, all three had the same advice for the Congresswoman:  don't compromise.   

"Stick to your ground and don't back down," said Tyson.

"Don't back down and don't negotiate," said Antunes. 

"I'm concerned that if you change position, republicans will see a weakness and then where will this all stop?" said Michaels.

"The only thing that I can say is that I'm just going to keep fighting for you," responded Congresswoman Edwards.

Congresswoman Edwards' staff selected those constituents for the Monday meeting.  To be fair, WUSA9 reached out to several of her Republican colleagues from Virginia, but all of them declined to participate.  

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