POLITICS

Weber County Commissioners Discuss Financial Fears With Sen. Romney

Jan 18, 2019, 8:47 PM | Updated: Jan 24, 2019, 8:39 am

OGDEN, Utah – After four weeks, the frightening impacts of the federal government shutdown continue to intensify for workers who are not getting paid. Utah Sen. Mitt Romney today talked with several Weber County commissioners about legitimate financial fears among families in their community.

Meantime, some IRS workers in Ogden are not sure how they’ll pay for food and rent in the weeks ahead.

Those are the tough decisions for about 5,000 federal workers in Weber County alone. Sen. Romney says he working to break the stalemate in Washington. But, families with dwindling bank accounts say they need solutions now.

“We can’t live on nothing. You’re messing with families,” said Sean Beckstead, a single father of a 12-year-old boy with autism. He’s worked for the IRS 11 years, and always loved the job.

“I think a lot of people are at their breaking point right now when it comes to finances,” said Charlene Salazar, a mother of two grown children living in her home, one of them with special needs. “Everyone is very upset and scared.”

Both of them and many of their friends at work are frightened about the immediate future.

“I’m the major breadwinner for our family,” said Salazar. “So, it’s been very scary. We’ve had to cut back on a lot of things.”

All of their money is going for food and necessities, she said.

“But, without a paycheck this week, that’s a lot more difficult,” she said.

“We’re all getting a little more jittery,” Beckstead said of the atmosphere at work. “The tension is high.”

They’re all wondering how to pay bills already overdue, he said.

“I didn’t really figure it would be going this long,” he said. “Hopefully it’s not going to go on much longer. But, we’re the people doing the job and we need to be paid because we’re going to be homeless.”

“People want to know what’s happening, what’s being done,” said Sen. Romney, after he met with three commissioners in Weber County, which has the most federal workers in the state.

A bipartisan Senate proposal this week to reopen the government, and continue negotiations, was turned down. But, Romney said he would keep working with his Senate colleagues to come up with proposals to end the shutdown, or ease the impacts in the meantime.

“We’re going to keep on fighting, looking for solutions to get the government open because people are hurting.”

Romney said, it’s up to the president and the Speaker of the House to break the stalemate.

“I don’t think we’re far apart on policy, to tell you the truth, because Democrats have voted for a border fence in the past, and the president has indicated he’s willing to give DACA individuals the right to stay in the country legally. So, on policy, it strikes me there’s not a big gap. But, the politics have drawn people into different corners.”

“We blame them all,” said Beckstead. “There isn’t nobody to single out.”

The workers need action now.

“Please do the job that we put you there to do,” said Salazar. “Get back in, negotiate and please take care of the situation.”

Nearly 800 more IRS employees were called back to work without pay this week. The agency is bracing for its busiest time of the year.

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Weber County Commissioners Discuss Financial Fears With Sen. Romney