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San Diego Federal Workers Want Congress To Wrap Up The Shutdown

Photo by Claire Trageser / KPBS

Above: Federal employees from the National Treasury Employees Union call for an end to the October government shutdown at a press conference, Oct. 3, 2013.

About 33,000 non-military federal workers in San Diego had their third day of no work and no pay Thursday because of the government shutdown. The number of furloughed federal employees in San Diego was estimated by Marney Cox, the chief economist for the San Diego Association of Governments.

About 33,000 non-military federal workers in San Diego had their third day of no work and no pay today because of the government shutdown.

One group from the National Treasury Employees Union, which represents more than 25 different federal government agencies, spoke out about the shutdown at a press conference outside the Federal Building in downtown San Diego.

Nine NTEU members, who all work for the IRS, said they're struggling without their paychecks and want to go back to work.

Malcolm Gettmann, the union's president, said that during the shutdown, the IRS isn't able to answer taxpayer questions or monitor for tax fraud.

"The IRS had to effectively stop collection activities and curtail audits as well as its efforts to combat fraud such as identity theft and hiding of taxable funds in offshore accounts," he said. "So if you're a tax cheat, rejoice, we're not out there. This shutdown is the latest in a series of actions undermining the IRS's ability to do its job."

Gettmann has worked for the IRS for 33 years. He lays the blame for the shutdown squarely at the feet of House Speaker John Boehner and the Republicans in Congress.

Gerald Williams, another IRS employee and Marine Corps veteran, had both of his legs amputated after he was injured in Vietnam.

"So I'm used to cuts," he said. "But the cuts for the government, the way they're being made, it's like they're starting at the neck. And I think this is going to be tragic for our government."

Williams said he and his wife are not spending money on anything except necessities until the shutdown ends.

Furloughs of local workers was one of several shutdown impacts felt throughout the San Diego region. The Cabrillo National Monument and recreational facilities in the Cleveland National Forest are closed, military commissaries are not operating and biotech leaders say some scientific research has been stalled.

On Thursday, MCAS Miramar announced the Miramar Air Show is cancelled because of the government shutdown.

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