NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Tens of thousands of federal workers in New York City continue to feel the impact as the partial government shutdown continues.
Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.) joined furloughed federal employees, union leaders and others affected by the shutdown to call on Congress to reach a compromise.
Maloney said the crisis in entirely manufactured and is only being made worse with the nation getting closer to reaching its debt limit.
“We need to end it I hope tonight or tomorrow morning. The idea of violating our debt ceiling is so disturbing,” she said. “A small group of conservatives are holding up the whole government and they are making it clear that they will not move unless their ransom is paid.”
As WCBS 880’s Marla Diamond reported, some furloughed workers have stopped making mortgage payments and filling prescriptions. Elaine Halbalnaives said she went to a food pantry for the first time this weekend.
“End this shutdown now. You guys on the Hill, come together and do whatever it is that you have to do,” she said.
Architect Nancy Goshow said the government owes her $160,000.
“I will be forced to lay off 30 percent of my firm because of the shutdown,” she said. “Please open up the government, Congress. You are killing small business.”
In New York City alone, 50,000 federal workers have been furloughed, while some are forced to work without pay.
After nearly two weeks of gridlock, Senate leaders are racing to reach an agreement that could head off the nation’s first-ever debt default and end the government shutdown.
As CBS 2’s Danielle Nottingham reported, Senate leaders are trying to finalize a deal to end the government shutdown and raise the nation’s debt limit.
“We’re going to get a result that will be acceptable to both sides,” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R.-Ky.) said.
A Monday afternoon meeting at the White House was postponed so lawmakers could continue their negotiations.
Speaking to furloughed workers volunteering at a Washington, D.C. food bank, President Barack Obama said time is running short.
“My hope is that a spirit of cooperation will move us forward over the next few hours,” said the president.
Tourists visiting the nation’s capital are in the interim finding creative ways to visit closed national landmarks as hundreds of thousands of federal workers nationwide are still off the job.
“Even something as simple as someone staffing a gift shop. Those people aren’t at work right now and that makes us sad for them,” Nancy Anderson of Georgia said.
Others said the shutdown will be a factor the next time they head to the polls.
“That will be one thing I will look hard at is, were you a part of this?” Kentucky resident Rhonda Cory said.
If the Senate does reach a deal to reopen the government and raise the debt limit, it will still have to clear the Republican-controlled House.
Meantime, Rep. Bill Pascrell (D-N.J.) said he plans to hold his ground.
“Well, I don’t think we’re going to back off. We’re not going to negotiate until the government is open. That’s it,” Pascrell told WCBS 880’s Jim Smith.
The Democrat added House Speaker John Boehner has lost control to the Tea Party.
“And it’s sad, it’s sad in a way. I think he’s a decent human being who let these lunatics get out of control. And you’re not gonna control the lunatics, they’re out of the asylum and they’re all over the place now,” Pascrell said. “These people are out to destroy America. They are the un-American people.”
Pascrell said the best bet now is for the Senate to hammer out a deal and send it to the House, leaving them to muster enough votes.
The Treasury says it will run out of money to pay its bills if Congress doesn’t increase its borrowing authority by Thursday.
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