There’s at least one member of Congress who has some familiarity with the experience of furloughed federal workers – Jeff Fortenberry was once in their position.
As a 23-year-old graduate student at Georgetown University in the mid-80′s, Fortenberry landed a paid internship at the now-defunct USDA Farmers Home Administration.
“Someone came in at 2 o’clock in the afternoon and said you’ve got to go home, the government’s shut down,” the Nebraska Republican recalled this week. “You shrug your shoulders and go home and I think they paid us when we came back for the work we didn’t do.”
That was one of several one-day federal government shutdowns that happened in the 1980′s. Fortenberry said he used the extra time to hit the books.
“It was a very peculiar thing to be told ‘You’ve got to go home, the government can’t pay you,’” Fortenberry said.
While Fortenberry said his own furlough lasted only a few hours, it remains to be seen when this shutdown will end and federal workers will be able to go back to work.