WPAFB workers concerned about possible government shutdown

WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Ohio (WDTN) – People who work on Wright-Patterson Air Force Base say they are worried about a possible government shutdown, which could have a major impact on operations at the base.

Congress voted Thursday to approve stop gap spending bills to beat the upcoming deadline, which would have only funded the government through Friday. The government’s doors are now able to stay open through December 22, giving Congress more time to negotiate a long-term spending deal.

While several people we spoke with who work at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base said they are relieved the deadline has been pushed back, they’re still worried about the possibility of the government shutting down in two weeks.

“If the base shuts down, that affects everybody in this area,” said Dennis Schumacher, who works at the commissary on Wright-Patterson Air Force Base.

Schumacher and his wife Pamela, who is also employed at the commissary, were out of work the last time the government shut down in 2013.

“You’re sitting there in two weeks, don’t know if you’re going to go back to work the next day or if you’re going to be off for a year or two,” he said. “And you can’t go look for another job because you already have a job.”

“We went into the admin office, we called all the people and told them not to come to work, that it was a shutdown, and that was our duty for that day,” Pamela Schumacher said. “And then we went home.”

The possible shutdown also has Penelope Smith, a server at Fairborn Family Diner and Restaurant, feeling anxious. Her other job is at a store on the base.

“How and why is there even a need for us to be open if there is a shutdown?” Smith said.

She said she is also concerned about the diner, where most of the customers work on Wright-Patt.

“If they are shut down and they don’t have the income, then they’re not going to be spending their money,” Smith said. “And that’s a very terrible thing this time of year with Christmas right around the corner.”

Dennis Schumacher said he hopes Congress is keeping the people’s best interests in mind.

“I felt optimistic before,” Schumacher said of the last shutdown. “I thought they would get things worked out, and it took two weeks. This time – I don’t know if they’re even trying. And that’s what’s frustrating.”

2 NEWS has reached out to Wright-Patterson Air Force Base to find out more about how the base would operate under a shutdown. We are still waiting to hear back.

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