A lot of New Mexicans are feeling the effects of the government shutdown, and Wednesday, Congress heard the story of one of them.
A Carlsbad family already dealing with a devastating situation, was put in an even tougher situation because of what’s going on thousands of miles away in Washington.
“I rise today to highlight a New Mexico family who is severely impacted by the shutdown, and I think there are hundreds of thousands of families like this across the country,” Sen. Tom Udall said.
Udall shared the Ornelas family’s story on the Senate floor Wednesday, as he urged President Trump and the Senate majority to re-open the government immediately.
“The Ornelas family is scared to death [that] Ian will miss another check and another check…They simply cannot make it without Ian being paid,” said Sen. Udall.
It’s been 26 days since Ian has been to work, furloughed during the partial government shutdown. He works for the Bureau of Land Management.
His younger brother, Zachary Young, suffered a brain tumor that has left him disabled. He now requires constant medical care at home in Carlsbad.
KRQE News 13 visited the family. They say the bills just keep coming
“I’ve been through shutdowns before, and so I’m used to them. However, the length of this one has been particularly concerning, and as it has dragged on, it has gotten more stressful,” said Ian.
“A lot of stress is building up in me, and knowing it’s affecting us more and more each day,” said
Ian’s stepfather Ervie.
Ervie, who is a daycare teacher, reduced his hours by 75 percent to take care of Zachary.
His mother, Leah, who is a nurse, puts her whole paycheck toward medical bills.
“This is our story, and there’s so many more like this that people are going through right now, and they need their jobs back to pay bills,” said Zachary.
Sen. Udall and this New Mexico family hope the president and fellow members of Congress are paying attention to these stories.
“The Ornelas family has made tremendous sacrifices as a family. They can make no more adjustments,” said Sen. Udall.
“What if? That’s our life right now: what if? What if this happens? We don’t know,” said Ervie.
“I keep thinking, it’s got to end any day now. But at the same time it just keeps going,” said Ian.
Wednesday, Sen. Martin Heinrich joined other senators on the steps of the Capitol building to highlight more stories from their districts. He held a picture of a New Mexico contractor named Sam, just one of the many people he says are affected by this shutdown.