Angry and anxious, a room full of IRS workers furloughed or working without pay shared their stories with Congresswoman Lori Trahan as the partial government shutdown rolled through the start of its fourth week. It is now the longest shutdown in the country's history.
Many of the IRS workers are living paycheck to paycheck, with bills and children, and some battling illnesses and in need of medication.
Those emotional stories were shared with Trahan, who's 10 days into her new job and promising to try to help them.
"I think about you every day," Trahan said. "It is the most shameful thing to ask anybody to work without pay."
It's been three weeks since the partial government shutdown began, due to a standoff between President Trump and congressional Democrats over funding for a southern border wall.
"It feels like my government's abandoned me," IRS worker Daris Boggs said.
Boggs, one of 800,000 government works not getting paid, can't afford his expensive anti-rejection medication for his kidney transplant.
"It's a feeling of hopelessness right now," Boggs said. "Because you're sitting there wondering how you're going to get by."
Karen Lacy and her husband George, a veteran, are both IRS workers, and they need money for his diabetes medication.
"Very, very stressful," Karen Lacy said. "We never know when we're going to get another paycheck. Both of us are without pay."
Lisa Hilerio hasn't been able to collect unemployment benefits because the office can't verify her wages, since no one is at her office to do so.
"I’m looking at the very real reality of, after 20 years with the federal government ,of looking for a part-time job or something, so I can feed my children and I can pay tuition bills and I can pay my mortgage," Hilerio said.
Trahan promised to bring their stories to Washington and fight for an end to shutdowns that hold hardworking Americans hostage.
When asked if her party should concede to President Trump's demand for funding, Trahan said "this isn't a question about border security. This is a question of not using a government shutdown to force a policy debate."
Another worker said they have received an eviction notice, and isn't sure when he will be able to pay his rent.
Meanwhile, Trahan urged landlords to have patience with tenants who are affected by the shutdown.
© 2019 Cox Media Group.