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Chicago TSA Worker Speaks Out About Government Shutdown

Chicago (CBS) -- On day 20 of the federal shutdown, angry government workers in Chicago took to the streets Thursday demanding a solution. There are more than 45,000 federal workers in Illinois.

One TSA agent, among the nearly 2,000 at either O'Hare or Midway Airports missing their first paycheck, spoke with CBS 2 but asked for her identity to be hidden.

"We don't know when our paychecks are coming," the woman said. "We have no way of knowing how we're going to pay our bills and when we're going to do that."

What's worse, she says, is that creditors have little sympathy.

"My car loan said, 'Sorry,'" the woman said. "'If you do not pay, you will be assessed a late fee, and it will be reported to the credit bureau.' I also had my mortgage company tell me that the options that I have are short sale, foreclosure or they would prefer I get money from friends and family to make my mortgage payment."

Complaints about unsympathetic creditors are repeated across the country.

In a Facebook group page, agents have posted that companies like Discover, Kia Motors, USAA and Citi's Costco card have no existing programs or assistance for government employees during the shutdown.

President Trump said he sympathized with federal workers struggling to make ends meet.

"I can relate," Trump said. "I'm sure that the people on the receiving end will make adjustments. They always do."

The TSA agent said the president's sympathy can only go so far.

"I would like for him to give me an idea of how am I supposed to adjust to not being able to put food on my table," the woman said.

Despite their financial troubles, Trump claims federal employees support his push for a wall along the Mexican border.

"So many of those people are saying, 'It's very hard for me. It's very hard for my family, but Mr. President, you're doing the right thing,'" Trump said.

The woman said that regardless of political beliefs, her paycheck and the paychecks of hundreds of thousands of other federal workers, are on the line.

"Some people do support the wall. some people do not support the wall, but definitely they are not willing to forego their paycheck for the wall," the woman said.

Clearly, there is some confusion as to whether there is help available for government workers.

CBS 2 reached out to the four companies mentioned in this story, and all four said they do have programs in place to assist during the shutdown.

Federal employees who protested Thursday plan to return every Thursday at noon until the shutdown ends.

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