'We are political pawns': Local IRS workers suffering from government shutdown

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- IRS employees in Fresno make up the bulk of the local federal workforce, and the shutdown is starting to hurt. Jason Sisk heads the local chapter of the National Treasury Employees Union, which represents more than 5,000 IRS workers in Fresno.

"It's a mixed bag, you have some - they will be okay for a little bit, and then you have some that are right away living paycheck to paycheck, and they are trying to apply for unemployment," says Sisk.

Some have been furloughed, but those deemed essential workers are required to go to work, without pay. Fresno Congressman Jim Costa voted Democratic-sponsored bills to reopen the government, but with Senate Republicans vowing not to consider anything President Trump doesn't like, he's not sure when this will end.

"So, whether we are talking about the IRS or a host of government agencies that perform important and vital functions, it's just irresponsible. We've got to get government funded again and quit this scenario of political hostage-taking," Costa says.

Costa notes Democrats and Republicans in Congress have approved border security funding. The President's refusal to go along is leaving 800,000 federal workers in the lurch, including nearly 10,000 in Fresno County.

"We are pretty much political pawns," Sisk says.

The shutdown could delay tax return processing. The hiring of temporary workers to process the returns is being put off until it's over.

Other local federal workers going without pay include homeland security agents, transportation security agents at the airport, and air traffic controllers in the airport tower, agricultural researchers and many more.
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