Veterans Feel the Pinch, Weigh the Cost of Government Shutdown
VOA News/Carla Babb
FREDERICKSBURG, VIRGINA — It is more than three weeks into the partial government shutdown. Among the hundreds of thousands of federal employees affected by the political battle are military veterans. According to the latest government data, veterans make up about a third of the federal government’s civilian workforce.
Tyler Holmquist of Fredericksburg, Virginia, is a veteran and an employee of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. He’s one of the federal workers furloughed in the government shutdown, unable to work or collect pay.
“You just start making adjustments. You start cutting eating out. You try to make less trips to town to save on gas,” Holmquist said.
Family legacy of service
Holmquist spent 24 years in the Marine Corps, continuing a family legacy of fighters that dates back to World War I.
And he views his job in the Department of Homeland Security as a continuation of his service.
“Support and defend the Constitution, support and defend the nation (is) something a Marine can easily get behind,” he said.
Carey Holmquist has been out of the workforce for years, opting to stay home to care for their children during her husband’s military deployments and the many family moves.
But that could change soon.
“Actually I may be applying for jobs because we don’t know how long this is going to last,” she said.
Border security, family security
Holmquist’s employer, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, is at the center of the political impasse fueling the furloughs.
“A lot of people that we’re talking about in terms of pay, they agree with me,” President Donald Trump said during a visit to the border Thursday.
Are the Holmquists among the people the president is referring to?
“I very much support a wall or barrier and better security,” Carey Holmquist said. “On the other hand, I’m starting to wake up at night and be stressed because we’re not getting a paycheck.”
They’re hoping elected leaders will quickly do their jobs, so Tyler can get back to his.