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How a potential government shutdown could impact people in Massachusetts

How a potential government shutdown could impact people in Massachusetts
How a potential government shutdown could impact people in Massachusetts 02:43

BOSTON - In a matter of days Shaunea Tavares doesn't know if her WIC benefits will be there to help with the food assistance she relies on for her 2-year-old son, Khalib.

"My child, he loves milk, fruits, veggies, he loves veggies, so those things come in handy, especially in the month where you are lacking funds. It helps a lot," said Tavares.

It's one of several federally-funded programs that could be impacted by a government shutdown. The President of Action for Boston Community Development, Sharon Scott-Chandler, said the most vulnerable are the most impacted. "They are already trying to access resources they don't have. Then they hear maybe no WIC, no food access it causes extra stress."

Transportation Security Administration (TSA) agent Mike Gayzagian has been through two government shutdowns working at Logan Airport and he's bracing again.

"Personally, I had to dip into savings, dip into my retirement, many other of my colleagues had to do the same thing. It stressed out everybody," said Gayzagian. His union, the American Federation of Government Employees, represents about 1,500 TSA employees in New England who would be required to come to work but not get paid with Congress still unable to pass a spending plan with the clock ticking. "I send them there to make deals and they're not doing that. We want them to do their job so that we can do ours."

Much of the blame is falling on a small group of House Republicans with Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA)  so far unable to wrangle enough votes to move forward. "The House Republicans are alone on an island right now, they're fighting with each other, they're putting radical bills on the floor and not really addressing the shutdown that's looming," said Rep. Lori Trahan (D-MA).

In Massachusetts, there are some 24,000 federal employees facing uncertainty, about 500 working for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) who do field testing, review permit applications and could be locked out Monday. Union President Undine Kipka said they feel like political pawns. "For the Boston area, the cost of living is expensive, rents and mortgages are pretty high and so people depend on their paycheck to get by," said Kipka.

Tavares has this message for Congress: "They have a nation of people depending on them to get it together."

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