Oklahoma's federal employees return to work after shutdown

Oklahoma's federal employees return to work after shutdown

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MIDWEST CITY -

Federal employees put on furlough returned to work Thursday morning.

"I was affected by four days of lost pay," said Sheila Wakely, an employee at the Department of Defense (DOD).

Wakely has worked for the federal government for 25 years, and spent most of that time at Tinker Air Force Base.  Wakely was called back to work Monday while the government was still shut down.

"At the end of this week is that first full pay period," she said, "so we'll see next Friday if in fact we get a full pay check."

Wakely is just one of several federal employees in Oklahoma who know the government's solution is just temporary.

"This is completely insane," said Carl Dahms, President of the American Federation of Government Employees, "from the perspective of a federal employee, we've been carrying this for a long time."

Dahms says federal employees are safe until January 15, but if lawmakers in Washington can't reach an agreement on the nation's budget, federal employees will be out of work again.
 
"This country certainly doesn't need another government shutdown," said Rep. Tom Cole (R- Oklahoma).

Rep. Cole was the only member of Oklahoma's delegation who voted "yes" on the resolution to raise the debt ceiling.

"It's never smart to politics or a good policy to punish the American people just for a political point," he said.

Rep. James Lankford (R- Oklahoma), who voted against the resolution said in a statement:

"I ultimately could not vote for the bill, as it did not change our debt trajectory or provide relief form the central federal controls in the Affordable Care Act.  I did not come to my decision on this vote lightly."

Regardless of political affiliation, many families affected by the shutdown say it's time for lawmakers to their act together.

"They have to do what they think is best," said Wakely, "I just hope that what they think is best is what's best for us."

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