KANSAS CITY, MO (KCTV) -- Furloughed employees with the IRS said the worst part about the shutdown is the uncertainty and the anxiety.
They feel like pawns for the government and many aren’t sure what they are going to do on Friday, when they don’t get a paycheck.
On Thursday, they joined a nationwide rally to stop the shutdown.
“It’s just so disheartening to me and just so stressful,” said Zelma Finley, who has been an IRS employee for 31 years.
There was one word we kept hearing over and over as the furloughed IRS workers are making the message clear.
“We are hostages.”
“It’s ridiculous to be held hostage.”
“When you can’t do anything about it, you feel like you are at the mercy of someone else and it’s a cruel thing to do.”
They are worried sick about what happens next when the money doesn’t come tomorrow.
“I just moved into my apartment,” Nicole Davis, an IRS employee, said. “I can’t pay that. I have no food. I can’t pay anything.”
“It’s too hard,” she said, wiping a tear. “It’s complicated”
Others have managed to save up a little.
“I have a contingency plan, but once that runs out, I don’t know how I'm going to put food on the table,” said Ryan Roedel, who has worked for the IRS for 13 years.
Many said they feel like they are being used to prove a point. They said they are in limbo because they can't file for unemployment or find another job.
Everyone protesting on Thursday was hoping this gets the attention of the White House.
They hope can go back to work soon. Until then, many are trying to make others smile at the very least.
“If we are going to go to the bread line, look good as we go!” one person said. “And, if our cars are being repossessed, make sure they are clean!”
The union that represents IRS workers has filed two lawsuits challenging the government’s ability to force people to work without pay.
It comes as the IRS is preparing to call back thousands of employees to process tax refunds.
We reached out to local lawmakers about the shutdown and a few got back to us.
Missouri Senator Roy Blunt said, “We clearly need to secure our borders”.
Missouri Representative Sam Graves said it is time to build the wall.
Meanwhile, Emanuel Cleaver said we need to end the shutdown.
Kansas Congressman Steve Watkins and Missouri Representative Vicky Hartzler are both foregoing their paychecks.