Demoralized, many federal employees continue working without pay

    Austin McCullough works at Edwards Air Force Base, a technical operations employee for Air Traffic Control. He's been working over three weeks without pay during the government shutdown. January 12, 2019. (KBAK/KBFX)<p>{/p}

    TEHACHAPI, Calif. (KBAK/KBFX)- The government shutdown is now the longest in United States history, and among the 800,000 federal employees going without pay, some essential employees in Kern County are frustrated by continuing to work without pay.

    Austin McCullough, 28, works in technical operations for the Federal Aviation Administration office located at Edwards Air Force Base. He drives 50 miles each way, working 10-hour days.

    "Getting our pay stubs on Thursday and seeing ‘$0,' is just very disheartening. It makes it hard to wake up and want to go to work," McCullough said.

    McCullough served in the Marines, and gets $600 a month from disability insurance. But if the shutdown doesn't end soon, he'll need to dip into his extra savings.

    "That's supposed to be emergency money, and instead it's gonna have to go to bills that I don't have the income coming in to pay," he said.

    He knows he'll receive back-pay once the government reopens, but not knowing when that will be is causing him to question if this is the career he still wants.

    "Once the government opens back up, I have to think, is this what I want to continue doing?" McCullough said.

    He's disheartened by the political stalemate, but emboldened to take action come 2020.

    "This might be the year to vote Independent," McCullough said. "I can't count on a party."

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