Through a federal government shutdown, a political battle in Washington D.C. is sending serious ripples through Central Texas.
Many of Fort Hood’s 6,000 federal employees were sent home Tuesday, unsure when they’ll return, after a round of furloughs caused by the shutdown.
Mary Smith clocked into her job at Fort Hood Tuesday morning and immediately received a letter saying she had to return home.
"I'm still shocked, because I'm almost a 30 year vet, and I've never experienced this before," Smith said. "I have a family, and I have house payments and regular bills like everybody else. Children to raise and your bill collectors want their money.”
About 20 percent of the post’s 6,000 federal employees have will be out of work—and pay—until the government shutdown is over.
"(Our supervisors) are telling us to go get unemployment, pay our mortgages, feed our families, pay our utility bills,” furloughed employee Harrison Riggis said. “No way. We can't do it just with unemployment."
Some believe the political disputes in Congress have unfairly affected the personal lives of these employees.
"They're holding us hostage to this Obamacare thing because it's something they want to get across and they aren't benefiting anybody right now," federal employee Cheryl Eliano said.
Many federal employees will continue to work during the shutdown, but officials say even those people won't get paid until the government reopens.
Until that day comes, the employees remain confused about why they have to pay for the congressional impasse.
"Nobody's done any wrong here, but we're being punished like we did. We're being sent home as if we're not worthy,” Smith said. “I don't think it's fair."