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Government shutdown affects agencies in Milwaukee area

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MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- Layoff notices to federal employees numbered in the hundreds on Tuesday, October 1st, as the government shut down after the House of Representatives and the Senate could not agree on a spending plan by the midnight deadline. The Catholic Church is also dealing with the government shutdown, and some are praying for Divine Intervention.

Inside the Cousins Center in St. Francis on Tuesday, Father David Bergner glowed when he talked of the accomplishments of Catholic Charities -- an organization he leads.

"Our mission of course -- we look to our Lord for inspiration, in terms of his call to service. We're proud to say that we've helped resettle 300 people in recent years and that is our goal for this year as well," Father Bergner said.

Each year, refugees escaping war and hardship make Milwaukee home. Catholic Charities helps bring them from foreign lands, thanks mostly to tax dollars.

"We're talking about $600,000.  So it is substantial," Father Bergner said.

A government shutdown has that funding up in the air.

Some refugees who have waited years to escape hardship may have to wait a little longer.

However, Father Bergner does not reserve his prayers just for those far away.

"There is a lot of prayer going on, especially among our federal employees, who unfortunately have been victimized by this action," Father Bergner said.

Major Paul Rickert with the Wisconsin National Guard says more than 800 members were furloughed on Tuesday. Most of the operations at Milwaukee's 128th Air Refueling Wing are shut down.

"This is definitely an impact. For any family to have that taken out of their budget, that's a significant impact," Major Rickert said.

"We just hope and pray for resolution," Father Bergner said.