Frustration mounts over federal government shutdown - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Frustration mounts over federal government shutdown

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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) -

It's less than 24 hours old, but frustration is mounting over the federal government shutdown.

"Congress is acting irrationally right now and it's the government workers who are paying for it. We've already been through pay freezes, furloughs, reductions of force and now we have to go through this shutdown," said Jamie Hiranaka, president of the Professional and Technical Engineers.

Hiranaka's union represents about 3,000 white-collar workers employed by the Navy in Hawaii. About two-thirds of those employees, including Hiranaka, received furlough notices today.

"A lot of members have mortgages to pay, are single parents. Some are dual where husbands and wives both are on furlough," said Hiranaka.

Some 25,000 federal workers are affected by the shutdown, which will mean the closure of the Pearl Harbor Shipyard, Hawaii's National Parks and the state's four military commissaries, where consumers braved long lines and picked through empty shelves today.

"I really am pissed off about the federal government and politicians. We're the people who elected them and all they care about is themselves," said commissary shopper Peter Arioli of Kaimuki.

Added Halawa Heights resident Cheri Copeland: "To me it's just ridiculous. Get it together. Get your acts together so you can get back to serving your country appropriately."

State officials say they're monitoring the situation but there's little they can do until cooler heads prevail in Washington.

"Right now our main concern is for the thousands of federal employees that are furloughed by this situation," said Acting Governor Shan Tsutsui.

"Hopefully it's not a prolonged situation because it will obviously have an affect on our overall economy."

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