The partial government shutdown is three weeks old, and it’s gone on long enough for some of the 800,000 federal employees impacted to start missing pay.
This weekend is the first time that many of them are receiving paychecks with no money.
Take, for instance, William Striffler, an air traffic controller at Newark Liberty International Airport in New Jersey.
He gave CNN permission to use this image of his pay stub. During this particular pay period, Striffler worked 64 hours. The amount listed under “net pay?” $0.00.
Working long hours without getting paid is a tough thing to deal with, Striffler said.
“We’ve been working knowing that it was coming, and when it hit yesterday, it really hit,” he told CNN’s Poppy Harlow.
Striffler’s wife is pregnant. She’s due to have the baby, a girl, next week.
“This should be one of the happiest moments of our lives,” he said, “and we have this hanging over our heads. And it’s really an unfortunate situation to have to worry about.”
Striffler said they will use their savings and get help from family to make ends meet until the shutdown is over.
When asked what he would like to tell Congress about his situation, Striffler said he wants them to knock off playing politics.
“We don’t want to be used as political pawns,” he said. “We just want to know that we’re going to go to work and that we’re going to get paid and not have to worry about the added stress. We have stressful enough jobs as it is.”
And he’s not interested in assigning blame for the shutdown to President Donald Trump and the GOP, or the Democrats in Congress.
“I don’t want to blame anybody. I just want them to get together, find a [solution] and not use us as a pawn in either way,” he said. “We just want to get back to work and get our paychecks.”