Laid-off federal workers blame Tea Party activists for shutdown - New York News

Laid-off federal workers blame Tea Party activists for shutdown

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WASHINGTON -

Despite a steady rain, about 250 laid-off federal workers rallied on Capitol Hill Thursday to protest the ongoing shutdown of much of the federal government.

Organized by at least two unions, the speakers and attendees blamed Tea Party Republicans for the legislative gridlock that has failed to produce spending authority.

Civil rights leader Jesse Jackson likened the conservative hard-liners to Civil War insurrectionists.

"They lost the battle on the field in 1863," Jackson told the crowd. "They lost the battle at the polls in 2012. They must not take our government."

Democratic House leader Nancy Pelosi (D-- Calif.) predicted enough moderate Republicans would break ranks to support a "clean" budget bill.

"We, the Democrats in the House of Representatives, have been willing -- have been willing -- to give them 200 votes to open up government," declared Pelosi before beginning a repetitive chant: "Give us a vote! Give us a vote! Give us a vote! Give us a vote!"

Furloughed aviation safety inspector Dan Ronneberg believes the layoffs are harming safety and the economy: "We're not making sure that airplanes are being properly deiced. We're not looking at whether weight and balance is being properly accomplished ... Boeing has airplanes they'd like to deliver. Those planes can't be delivered right now because there's not an aviation safety inspector to sign them off."

Air Force maintenance worker Andrew Sailes has been called back to work, but says budget cuts are harming readiness.

"We have been told that all funding for parts, materials -- all of that has been shut down," said Sailes, who works at Joint Base Bolling in Southeast Washington D.C. "We can't even print the paperwork to do the reports because we're running out of paper."

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