The federal government shutdown may be over in Washington, but frustration with members of Congress lingers in Southern New Hampshire.
Only hours after congressional leaders agreed to end the 16-day shutdown, sending thousands of federal employees back to work, local residents weighed in.
The majority of the 17 people interviewed, many of whom were afraid to give their names for fear of losing their military or Social Security benefits, agreed the shutdown could have been avoided. They also said another shutdown would likely occur when the bipartisan agreement ends in early 2014.
“It’s just a mess,” said Don Carreau, 69. of Londonderry. “I think it was ridiculous. There is no reason why they couldn’t reach some kind of agreement.”
Carreau, a former federal government employee, recalled how he was furloughed for three days during the last shutdown in 1995.
“There was no need for it,” he said. “These people (congressional leaders) were still allowed to get paid. I think they should at least lose their pay for closing down for 16 days.”
Carreau was one of many local residents to question why members of Congress still received their paychecks while federal employees did not.
Those employees returned to work and national parks, museums and other shuttered federal properties reopened yesterday.
“I feel bad for those who were affected,” said Elizabeth Belmonte, 38, of Derry. “I think the people in Washington need to understand what the rest of the people are going through. I blame all of them for not being able to play together.”
For Philip Riley, 23, of Derry, the end of the shutdown was a big relief for his family.
“Luckily, it’s over,” said Riley, who was shopping in Derry yesterday.
Riley said his father, a retired Air Force veteran, was concerned about not receiving his military pension if the shutdown continued.