By Andrew Edwards, Press-Telegram
Posted: 10/02/13, 7:37 PM PDT |

The second day of the partial shutdown of the federal government continued on Wednesday, meaning federal employees like James Horn don’t know when they will be able to return to work and earn a day’s pay.

Horn, 58, of Valinda, is a military technician at Joint Forces Training Base in Los Alamitos. He and about 60 of his colleagues spend their weekdays tending to trucks and the other vehicles Army reservists use for drills on the weekends. But after the government went into shutdown mode on Tuesday, Horn and his co-workers are on an indefinite furlough.

“That’s where it gets people concerned, and that’s the unknown,” Horn said.

Horn, who is president of the National Association of Government Workers that represents technicians at Los Alamitos and is himself an Army reservist, was also on a federal payroll during the 1995-96 government shutdown. For government employees, the previous shutdown amounted to something like a paid vacation, Horn said, since the government reinstated workers’ missed pay.

This time around, however, he does not know if that will be the case.

“It’s a mystery,” Horn said. “The federal unions that represent us will be fighting with Congress to get that money reinstated to us.”

An estimated 800,000 government employees were furloughed as of Tuesday, when the shutdown went into effect after Congress failed to agree on legislation that would pay for the full range of federal operations. The government shutdown has yet to produce an easily defined economic impact, but Los Angeles-based economists said the inability of government leaders to set fiscal policy makes it difficult for business leaders to have the confidence needed to grow their companies.

“The ongoing diet of uncertainty that’s created by government action, or inaction, doesn’t do any good for the local economy,” said Robert Kleinhenz, chief economist of the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corp.

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