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POOLESVILLE, Md. (WUSA9) -- Hundreds of thousands of federal workers across our region are worried about covering their bills if ths government shutdown continues.

"We saved for years to buy this home. We just moved in four months ago, says Marcelo del Canto, whowas back downtown for a news conference, pleading with Congress to put him back to work.

"We have our son home right now. Not even taking him to day care because we don't know how long this is going to go." Both Del Canto and his wife work for the Substance Abuse and Mental Health ServicesAdministration.

He's a budget analyst. But he never budgeted for this. "Please end this and get us back to work."

"We feel like we've been kicked around. This is ridiculous," says Amy Fritz, whoworks for the Weather Service.

With two Master's degrees -- in meteorology and oceanography -- she wonders how she'll keep up with over $130-thousand in student loans without a paycheck coming in.We're here to serve government. We are here to serve people. What's going on? Why can't we go back?"

Republican Andy Harris of Maryland's Eastern Shore sympathizes... but suspects federal workers will end up ok when the battle's over. "Congress has always provided retro pay for furloughed workers during a shutdown. I don't think this will be any different."

Local senators have already introduced a bill to compensate federal workers when the government restarts. But Mark Warner of Virginia worries about the impact of having intelligence analysts sitting at home now. "When you've got approximately 70 percent of the civilian intelligence workers furloughed, you are putting the country in danger."

House Republican's are proposing piecemeal legislation to fund critical parts of the government. "We're going to do National Parks, NIH cancer patients," say Rep. Harris.

But Democrat Barbara Mikulski of Maryland says piecemeal's not good enough. We need to reopen the entire federal government.

The House is now talking piecemeal funding, but Maryland Republican Andy Harris is holding out hope for the opposite.
He thinks to the way out of shutdown and upcomingdebt ceiling might be a Grand Bargain that cuts entitlements, reforms taxes and leaves both Republicans and Democrats feeling like winners.

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