GOVERNMENT SHUTDOWN: Federal employees working abroad as U.S. Army contractors return to work

Weeks without work finally came to an end

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. -- - Federal employees rested easy on Thursday night after many returned to work for the first time in more than two weeks due to the government shutdown.

One of those employees was West Palm Beach native Rosemarie Spencer. She has been glued to her television for the last few days, waiting for the shutdown to end thousands of miles away in Germany.

"Everyday I was just literally praying that our nation would come together and know that there are so many people whose lives are being affected," said Spencer.

Working overseas as a contractor with the U.S. Army in the suicide prevention program, Spencer spent days out of work, away from home feeling uncertain about her future.

"I was surely relieved this morning when I woke up and found out that they had made an agreement. I was really relieved," said Spencer.

Days of a government shutdown had Europe talking. Spencer said she tried to avoid discussing it with the locals.
    
"I don't know if I was worried that they would say something nasty. I was just focused on wishing for a good result," said Spencer.

But not everyone wanted it to end. Florida congressman Tom Rooney was of the 144 "nays" in the U.S. House of Representatives.

"I made a pledge to my constituents that I would not vote for any bill to increase the debt ceiling unless it included serious steps to address our debt crisis. The bill before the House today clearly fails to meet that standard," wrote Rooney in an e-mailed statement on Thursday.

It is that fierce debate that has Spencer worried about her future and about another shutdown on the horizon.
    
"I cleared one hurdle, so now I have to watch my stride as I approach the other one and hopefully it will work out positively," said Spencer.

Congressman Rooney also wrote that he anticipates another shutdown in January and a possible default in February if spending is not cut.

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