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MacDill Commander: Shutdown Is Democracy in Action

More than 1,500 civilian defense workers at MacDill Air Force Base are on furlough – the base commissary is closed, and there are some cutbacks in medical services, all due to the federal government shutdown.

At a news conference this morning outside the MacDill main gate – base commander Col. Scott DeThomas acknowledged the shutdown is sometimes disruptive.

"Frustration of course we want to be able to do everything in our power to make the mission go", said DeThomas. "We want to never allow folks to be furloughed, I got that. But the reality is what you’re seeing play out in the political realm is of value to democracy and I’m fairly certain a lot folks around the world – yeah they might throw stones – but they’d love to have a piece of that."

DeThomas says he’s met with dozens of bank executives from the Tampa Bay region to ask them to be flexible with federal workers who will only receive half of their regular pay next week.

He says some banks – which he declined to name – are already setting up contingency loans for federal workers on furlough.