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Local federal government employee speaks on potential impacts from shutdown

Coloradans anxious to see what lawmakers will do as government shutdown looms
Coloradans anxious to see what lawmakers will do as government shutdown looms 02:26

The effects of a government shutdown have the potential to reach a wide range of Coloradans. But for those with government jobs, the impact could mean as much as not getting a paycheck for a while.  

"I'm not considered essential personnel, so therefore I stay home without pay, while others might be considered essential personnel and they go to work and not get paid," said Juanita Acuna.  

Lakewood resident Acuna has been working in the Department of Interior for nearly four decades.  

"There's a lot of benefit for working for the federal government and working for the American people. And, so, I enjoy doing that. It's my passion," she said. "Right now, what keeps me there is putting food on the table for my family and getting them through college." 

RELATED:  Potential government shutdown has food pantries preparing for increased need in Colorado

With the clock ticking on for U.S. lawmakers to agree on massive funding legislation by Sunday, things like state national parks across Colorado could close. In addition, the supplemental nutrition program for women, infants, and children known as WIC will be turned off right away. Federal workers - from TSA employees to those government roles like Acuna's - could be furloughed or asked to work without pay.  

CBS News Colorado got a statement from the state regarding WIC, which seems to indicate it will continue – at least for now.

"In the event of a federal government shutdown on Oct. 1, Colorado WIC clients will still be able to use their eWIC cards to access their benefits. CDPHE is monitoring the budget situation daily and working with the federal government to ensure that Coloradans can continue to access such critical benefits."

Juanita Acuna (second from right) and her family. Acuna works locally for the U.S. Department of the Interior. She expects to be forced to take unpaid time off if Congress fails to passing numerous funding measures by 12:01 a.m. Sunday. CBS

While Acuna is among those who can financially plan for this, she has experienced living paycheck to paycheck during previous shutdowns and knows others may be facing that reality right now.  

"It still affects me in the sense that I have friends and family that also work for the federal government and there's some hardship for them," said Acuna.  

Hardship could also be faced among Colorado families of active-duty service members. The state currently has nearly 43,000 active members. 


For those in the small business sector, the White House also says the Small Business Administration would also be forced to stop processing new business loans. This means small businesses could be losing out on more than $100 million in financing every day across the country. 

RELATED:  Gov. Jared Polis wants to keep Colorado's national parks open in case of federal shutdown

Acuna says while she is proud to work for the government, she says it is frustrating to see lawmakers in Congress continue to face issues with coming to the table on decision that lead to this kind of direct impact on the rest of the country.

"When we go to work, we're given our duties and we're expected to meet our deadlines. But it seems like our lawmakers who actually have to sign for these bills, there's no accountability for them," she said.  

RELATED:  What was the longest government shutdown in U.S. history?

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