Furloughed NASA Employees Wait And Want To Return To Work

One of the partial shutdown's hardest hit areas locally is Clear Lake, home to NASA's Johnson Space Center. A small group of furloughed NASA employees met to discuss the current budget situation.


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While NASA makes up roughly half a percent of the total federal budget, the space  agency has the highest rate of furloughed employees among federal agencies at 97 percent.

Navigate to NASA’s website page and you’ll be redirected to a placeholder screen that says the website is not available due to the lapse in federal government funding. 

Heather Strawser is a resident of Rep. Steve Stockman’s district that includes JSC. Her husband is a furloughed NASA worker.

“He’s not allowed into his office. He’s allowed to work from home. He’s not allowed to do anything related to his job. This threat comes up every year when it’s budget time, but it typically doesn’t happen and we had actually been travelling and we come home to this news that now, we’re not gonna have a paycheck the foreseeable future.”

Ron Sostaric and his wife Jenny Gruber have been NASA employees for 15 years.

He says they’ve tried to keep busy during the impasse.

“We’ve worked through the ‘honey do’ list and we’re kind of at the bottom now. So yeah, we’re ready to go contribute to our nation, to our society. We just like to be ordered back to work. We hope the Congress will do that very soon.”

Jenn Gruber: “We have a couple of months’ worth of savings, so we’re not in as hard a place as some people are. But we know a lot of people, especially the contractors who’s contracts need to be renewed, who are going to be impacted by this significantly.”

JSC employees about 3200 civil servants and more than 15,000 contractors. Most of them are affected by furlough, leaving about 100 people to run Mission Control.          

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