(BLOOMINGTON) - In the atrium of the Showers Building, the blinds in U.S. Rep. Todd Young's local satellite office are closed and the door locked, as they have been for more than two weeks after the Republican congressman's own staff was furloughed as part of the partial government shutdown.
That didn't stop a group of 50 Monroe County activists from gathering there Monday to voice their complaints about the continuing budget battle and its effect on local residents.
The protesters say they want Young to get back to work.
Todd Lare, executive director of the South Central Community Action Program says no one is listening.
The nonprofit agency, which works with low-income residents, will see funding for many of its programs dwindle or disappear if the shutdown stretches into November. Head Start, senior nutrition programs, the child school lunch program, Child and Adult Care Food Program and the Women, Infants and Children program are among the programs expected to lose funding by Nov. 1.
About 350,000 federal workers are still furloughed, and hundreds of thousands more are working without pay while Congress continues negotiations.
Young spokesman Trevor Foughty says the congressman was similarly frustrated with the shutdown.
"Congressman Young has shared in the frustrations of many constituents during the partial shutdown of the federal government, and it was something he had hoped could be avoided. He's consistently called on all involved in Washington to stop playing the blame game, and start working towards solutions," Foughty said.
Many at the gathering were frustrated with the actions that caused the shutdown in the first place, pointing to the U.S. House of Representatives and attempts by a group of Republican members to tie the funding bill to a delay in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, or "Obamacare," as the major factor in the shutdown. Young voted with the House majority in favor of the delay.
Several at the event asked that whatever budget bill is settled on be a "clean bill," or one without any other bills or requirements attached, and encouraged Young to vote to end the shutdown.
In a statement, Young's Deputy Chief of Staff Trevor Foughty pointed out the Congressman is one of 52 Democrats and Republicans participating in a "No Labels' Problem Solvers" coalition.
"He's consistently called on all involved in Washington to stop playing the blame game, and start working towards solutions," he added.
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