Thousands of federal workers, servicemembers in Hawaii brace for likely government shutdown

A government shutdown could have significant impacts across the country.
Published: Sep. 29, 2023 at 5:04 PM HST|Updated: Sep. 29, 2023 at 5:45 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Hawaii’s federal employees and their families are bracing for a government shutdown as Congress has yet to reach a deal.

There are over 70,000 federal employees in Hawaii, the priciest state in the nation, that would have to work without pay or be furloughed. That includes members of the military and civilian workers.

They’re hoping Congress resolves the situation quickly to avoid struggling to make ends meet.

Without a deal, the government will shut down at midnight Sunday.

And officials warn there could also be impacts to the public.

A TSA spokesperson said in a statement that a government shutdown could mean longer wait times, adding the last shutdown “took a toll on the agency.”

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“Because how are they gonna get to work?” said Joshua Christie, executive vice president of the AFGE 1234 union. “Gas is going up, food is going up because of inflation. Officers are going to have to decide: Go to work or find other means of work?”

Mai Hall’s husband is active-duty military. She also remembers the last shut down.

“The same feelings arose feelings of anxiety, of uncertainty about what we were going to do,” said Hall. “Looking at the savings accounts, trying to prepare and where we can cut back.”

Her family and her military community near Pearl Harbor are preparing for the worst.

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“We’ve been getting emails from family advocacy programs saying hey, there’s food available if you need it, contact your chain of command.”

Congresswoman Jill Tokuda said an extended shutdown would also impact food stamps and related benefits programs, potentially suspending benefits for more than 156,000 Hawaii residents and 26,000 low-income mothers and children.

“We may not see it immediately, but the bottom line is — especially for Maui — we’re going to need help. Not just today and tomorrow, we’re going to need help in the month, the years to come,” she said.