'I'm down to the last dollar': Valley federal employees relieved to see government reopen

After several days the government has reopened.

President Donald Trump made the announcement on Friday morning.

Jason Sisk is an Internal Revenue Service employee and the National Treasury Employees Union representative in Fresno.

He is glad to see they'll go back to work and get back pay.

"It's been a long time coming, a lot of stress for the employees. So at least that will let us get back and start processing the refunds," he said.

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Jason Sisk, an IRS employee and the National Treasury Employees Union representative in Fresno, says the reopening of the government has been a long time coming.



Lucia Lope, an IRS customer service rep, is excited to get back to work.

"I'm very happy about that, to know that we are going to get income coming in. I just hope they work on keeping the government open within the three weeks," she explained.

Lopez explained the last couple weeks have been tough.

After missing her first paycheck she started dipping into her savings and knew that would not last long.

"We are already here and I'm down to the last dollar," Lopez said.

She took advantage of businesses offering free or discounts food and services.

Lopez admits she had to make a trip to the food bank.

"It just makes me sad, to know that, we are just like everybody else. We have the need to get food, like everyone else. We are in the situation because the government shut down," she said.

Lopez was recently called into work but claimed a hardship, meaning she did not have to go into work.

"I did show up but I told them I don't have gas money, you have to need money for lunch and gas and if you're not getting income - where are you going to get that from?" Lopez said.

This is a temporary deal.

President Trump said it's only until February 15.

Lopez is concerned about the future and just wants a deal made.

"It's had a great impact on my life and many of our federal employees and coworkers. I just ask, you know, please consider the hardships I have been going through, going through tough times. I would just say work together," she explained.

She is just happy to finally be getting a paycheck.

Sisk explained there was uncertainty for a while about what would happen.

"Usually when the shutdown happens we have to wait and fight over whether we are going to get back pay or not and they vote on that in Congress, after the fact. At least this time they voted ahead of time that we are going to get the back-pay," he said.

Sisk and Lopez are not sure when exactly they will get called back into work.

Sisk believes they will be able to finish hiring seasonal employees for the tax season.

"Last Thursday they started calling people in for finger printing because they have to do background checks and all of that . So they started that process last Thursday to pick up where they left off," he said.

He is not surprised President Trump made a deal without funding for a wall.

"It was just a matter of time before something was going to have to give one way or another. It was only going to get worse and more impacts were happening," he said.

He hopes a deal is reached.

"Our agency needs to collect the revenue and we need to have the people working to process the tax refunds and it all goes hand in hand with the other federal agencies to get their funding at that kind of stuff. So taxpayers depend on that stuff, that's why our agencies are in place to begin with," he said.

ABC 30 reached out to Jerry O'Gorman who is an air traffic controller and a union representative for the National Air Traffic Controllers Association. He sent this statement.

"After waking up to our second paystub for $0.00 yesterday, we are relieved and grateful to hear the news of the agreement to open the government today. We appreciate the commitment to compensate our workforce as soon as possible. We hope to quickly get things back to normal and begin working to mitigate the damage done to the National Airspace System from this 35 day shutdown. We remain hopeful that our elected leaders can come to an agreement to avoid another situation in three short weeks that harms hard-working families and adds an unnecessary element of risk to the busiest, safest and most efficient airspace system in the world."
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