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Furloughed Westover Employees Set to Return to Work


CHICOPEE, Mass. (WGGB) — Lt. Col. James Bishop couldn’t be happier to hear the news he’ll be able to return to work at the Westover Air Reserve Base Monday.

“This is great news. This is a turnaround. It’ll be good to see people back to work. The base is going to be fully staffed starting Monday,” Bisoho says.

Bishop, along with nearly 270 civilian employees, will be able to do so under the Pay our Military Act, which Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel decided to enact on Friday.

The move is a small glimmer of hope during the seemingly endless bickering in Washington.

“We sent home, unfortunately, single moms. Parents, both of whom work on base. Basically, the entire family income wiped out. The uncertainty more than anything affects the people,” Bishop adds.

For the first time in nearly a week, Westover Air Reserve Base will start to resemble it’s pre-shutdown self.

However, dozens of traditional reservists, who would be brought on to fill positions as needed around the base, have been sitting at home since September 30, without a clue as to when they’ll see another paycheck.

“I think that that’s unfair. My attitude has been open with the entire government, then we can negotiate. I hope that as we move towards the debate on the national debt ceiling, that cooler heads will prevail. This never should have gotten to this point,” Congressman Richard Neal stated.

On October 17, the United States will hit it’s borrowing limit.

If Congress can’t agree on raising it before then, the country will go into default, which could deal another blow to an already unstable economy.

“Speaker Boehner has indicated that he will not let America default. That’s a good starting point in the conversation,” added Neal.

Congress is back in session Monday evening.

Chicopee Mayor Michael Bissonnette said on Facebook that the city is working on a plan to provide school meals to kids, in the event the shutdown goes into a second week.

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