Muskogee residents feel impact of government shutdown

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Reported by: Price McKeon
Updated: 10/09/2013 8:30 pm Published: 10/09/2013 5:11 pm

Muskogee residents say the shutdown is hurting veterans trying to get benefits, and VA furloughs are hurting their entire community.

People in Muskogee are describing the government shutdown as a tug-of-war game.

Muskogee's largest employer, the VA Regional Office, has been closed to the public for almost 48 hours.

"It seems to me like it's just become a big game, and we're the ones playing and paying the price for it," said Ken Yates, a Muskogee resident.

"The impact it has had here in Muskogee is where the real aggravation comes from," said Dean Swan, another resident.

The talk around town? The government shutdown that caused Muskogee's No. 1 employer to close to the public.

The nation's largest VA regional office employs more than 1,400 people; now hundreds are without paychecks until Congress passes a budget.

"The people in this town work awful hard for every dime they get," said Yates.

Yates grew up in Muskogee and gets how important the building is for the entire community.

"Anytime people don't have money coming in, they can't afford to go out and spend it," said Yates.

"Everybody is pinching their money because they don't know when their next paycheck is going to show up," said Swan.

FOX23 learned the number of furloughed employees at the regional office is about 40 percent of the building, almost 600 employees.

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