Single mom who works for IRS 'ecstatic,' but 'skeptical' after shutdown ends

Jari Johnson says she's looking forward to going to work Monday

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The IRS' workforce will return to full strength under the short-term deal to reopen the government struck Friday by President Donald Trump and congressional leaders.

Jari Johnson, a single mother and an Air Force veteran who works as an IRS contact representative, breathed a sigh of relief. 

"I’m actually ecstatic because we’re looking forward to receiving a paycheck," Johnson said Friday. "Hopefully, in the meantime, they can come to a resolution so we don’t have to go through this again.”

News4Jax first spoke with Johnson earlier this week, back when she had no idea when her next paycheck would come. 

Now that the shutdown is ending, Johnson, who has a 4-year-old daughter, feels like a weight has been lifted off her shoulders. 

Trump agreed to a deal Friday to reopen the government for three weeks. It came in the 35th day of the partial shutdown as intensifying delays at the nation's airports and another missed payday for hundreds of thousands of federal workers brought new urgency to efforts to resolve the standoff.

The deal includes back pay for some 800,000 federal workers who have gone without paychecks. The Trump administration promises to pay them as soon as possible.

Johnson explained what it will be like when she finally receives back pay for the hours she worked without pay during the shutdown. 

"First things first, I'm going to handle my responsibilities and call everybody that I had to defer for the last couple of bills," she said. "Luckily, I was able to take care of my January bill. But February, I have a sigh of relief. I don't have to worry about where February is going to come from." 

Johnson hopes lawmakers are able to pass a funding bill that will keep the government opened beyond Feb. 15. Until then, she’s not getting her hopes up.

"I'm very apprehensive. I'm very skeptical. I'm just hoping that things will remain the same after three weeks in. But, like I said, there's no guarantee," she said. 

Knowing she’s getting a paycheck, Johnson said that she’s looking forward to going to work on Monday. 

Federal contractors who were out of work during the shutdown will not receive back pay. Those workers include security guards, janitors and food service personnel. 

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