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October 3rd, 2013
10:43 PM ET

Father of daughter with special needs on the government shutdown: "My greatest fear is getting further and further into debt and not being able to climb out"

With the nation mired in a standstill stemming from the ongoing government shutdown, on Thursday evening Piers Morgan dedicated a large portion of his show to telling the story of "real people, real effects," highlighting every day Americans that are being impacted financially and otherwise.

Joining the program live from his home in Orlando, Fla., Tom Penders revealed why the current situation is so very frightening to him:

"My greatest fear is getting further and further into debt and not being able to climb out," confessed the father of four. "Also, not being able to pay the bills, put food on the table, pay for the medications my daughter needs."

Penders is the sole provider for his family, and one of his daughters is both blind and autistic. As a civilian employee at a military base, the government shutdown will place an enormous strain on his livelihood:

"It is going to be difficult to handle, there is no questioning that," he told the "Piers Morgan Live" host. "Telling me they will pay me down the road doesn't help me today when I have to pay the power bill, I have to pay the water bill, you know, and I have to pay insurance, I have to go to the pharmacy and buy medications for my daughter. How am I supposed to pay for it when I have no money today?"

Asked by the host how he personally feels about the politicians in Washington, D.C., and the man from Florida held little back:

"I think they are behaving like a bunch of spoiled children, like a bunch of five-year-olds throwing temper tantrums, especially the Republicans," said Penders. "They need to get over it. The Affordable Care Act is law, it was upheld by the Supreme Court, it's law. It went into effect October first and the Republicans just need to deal with it. Stop acting like children and get us back to work. I feel like I'm being held a hostage by the Republicans."

Watch the clip for the rest of Morgan's interview with Penders, and for the next episode of "Piers Morgan Live," watch CNN every night at 9.
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Filed under: The Big Story
soundoff (16 Responses)
  1. bagladyboutique

    Reblogged this on Bag Lady Boutique.

    October 3, 2013 at 11:49 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  2. Melissa Abrams

    Wow! Such a powerful comment mentioned above. "I think they are behaving like a bunch of spoiled children, like a bunch of five-year-olds throwing temper tantrums, especially the Republicans.” They need to get over it. The Affordable Care Act is law, it was upheld by the Supreme Court, it's law. It went into effect October first and the Republicans just need to deal with it. Stop acting like children and get us back to work,” Penders said. I agree with this statement 100% and fully support it because it’s true. The government is being so rude and selfish by having a shutdown instead of putting the American people first and attending to their needs. This man and many other citizens, including myself, have pills to pay every month. They need to get over their pride and focus on the American people by ending the shut down and going back to work.

    October 4, 2013 at 12:06 am | Report abuse | Reply
    • Elaine Ossipov

      Here Here!

      October 4, 2013 at 12:56 am | Report abuse | Reply
    • 1okcupcake

      If ACA is such an awesome law then insist that it get implemented as passed by congress instead of all the political carve out for friends of the democrats. The prez has unilaterally changed the law 19 times for political gain.

      October 4, 2013 at 1:57 am | Report abuse | Reply
  3. Terry

    As sad as Mr. Penders story is, he is only one of thousands of Americans who have lost their jobs, had their hours cut back, etc. What makes federal employees exempt from what has happened to many other fathers with special needs kids, sick wives and an electric bill to be paid. BOO HOO!!!

    October 4, 2013 at 12:31 am | Report abuse | Reply
    • 1okcupcake

      I agree. Where were they for the last 5 years when millions were suffering when getting laid off? Collecting paychecks while we were suffering. When they go back to work they will be paid for their vacation. If government is closed down for more than a week they get unemployment and they get their salary too.

      October 4, 2013 at 2:02 am | Report abuse | Reply
      • archaeologytom

        No we DO NOT get unemployment AND our salary. IF we go back tom work we have to refund any employment we get. Get your facts straight. You call this a "vacation"? You are ignorant. I.m sitting here figuring out how I am going to pay the water bill; and electric. And BTW I am on my second furlough in 3 months. I never was paid back for that furlough

        October 6, 2013 at 1:00 pm | Report abuse |
      • 1okcupcake

        If you haven't saved even a couple of hundred bucks for a rainy day you spend too much. Cut cable, internet, only have minimum cell service, buy generic brands, do whatever you can to save money. There are plenty of free services that can help you with budgeting. Pack your lunch, don't by Starbucks, cook from scratch. Get into the habit of looking at EVERY purchase and ask yourself DO I REALLY NEED THIS OR DO I JUST WANT IT? Anyone can save–there is no rule that you have to spend every dollar you make so you have to worry about a couple of hundred dollars. The rest of the country has had to adjust–Federal workers can too.

        October 6, 2013 at 6:51 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Jessica

    When is CNN going to focus on the millions of people missing there jobs and doctors. That are being effected by Obama care. I regret voting for Obama because of this law my parent have lost there doctors n my mother lost her job both are in there 50's. Now they only depend on my father's wage which is only $13 doars an hour. How dare they say Obama care does not effect middle or low class.I will now be paying $175 a month for healthcare I'm 27 and still trying to pay my student loans and all bills I have. When is the working class going to pay for milions on lazy people that rather be supported by government than work.

    October 4, 2013 at 12:42 am | Report abuse | Reply
    • georgia fitzgerald

      Jessica, it will not change until the working people in this county stand up and say "we have had enough". No longer will we work our azzzzzes off to pay for some sorry lazy asssssss POS to collect their free life on the backs of the tax payers. However, that is what the government intends for the USA, turn us into a socialist country, where everyone is dependent on the government and the people do not have a say in how the country is run.....it started when this POS Muslim got into our HOUSE IN DC>

      October 4, 2013 at 12:57 am | Report abuse | Reply
      • 1okcupcake

        One thing that was good about tonight's show was the inside look at Head Start. Really, we are paying for Head Start to teach children to brush their teeth? Isn't THAT the parents responsibility? And when she said that the meals the kids get at Head Start is the only time they eat? What are their parents spending the SNAP benefits on? In out little community SNAP recipients buy the most expensive convenience foods, seafood and meats. Then go to the food bank and get when they can there. We do need to stand up and say we have had enough and reign in this out of control spender.

        October 4, 2013 at 2:12 am | Report abuse |
  5. Elaine Ossipov

    The Working Class, The Average American, honestly, we couldn't care less why they are fighting, who started it and who said what, we're a little busy trying to feed our kids, and help our parents. OPEN THE GOVERNMENT BACK UP. Period, NO ONE negotiates with a gun to their head, or someone saying "you do this or else" The President is Fully Supported here tonight as you've heard from nearly everyone. The MAJORITY voted him in office, VOTED FOR ACA, (quit calling it ObamaCare, people can be so disrespectful of the President.) And the Average American, THE MAJORITY say open the Government FIRST. Negotiate Later, QUIT PLAYING WITH OUR LIVES THE LIVES OF OUR KIDS, THE LIVES OF OUR PARENTS AND SENIORS AND THE LIVES OF OUR BRAVE SERVICEMEN

    October 4, 2013 at 12:54 am | Report abuse | Reply
  6. Margaret

    ObamaCare is on the backs of the middle-class. Why do you suppose that the majority of the the people who support this program are rich or very poor? Morgan and Jones, you have more money than God. Why don't you offer to pay the health insurance for those who don't? You support this program because it doesn't affect you at all. Those of us who make a middle-class salary are losing their doctors and their current health insurance. This doesn't affect you. You elitists can afford any doctor. Why don't all of you millionaires personally support those who have little? You never would, because then it would affect you. Shut up! You have no idea what you're talking about. You don't know what its like to be taxed to death. Tell us exactly how you help the poor except for your hypercritical rhetoric.

    October 4, 2013 at 12:59 am | Report abuse | Reply
  7. Tom

    This show tonight is like an Obama-love-fest infomercial. It's interesting how Piers cheery picks his guest to support his political views (which of course are liberal). It is shameful that this show is on CNN. This program needs to be on MSNBC- the liberal news. Can't we have at least one news channel that maintains moderate views. People watching any of these news programs have to realize that all these channels are run by big business' and serve the purpose to slant their coverage towards what benefits them. Please don't be duped. Both parties of our government are out of control and more divided than I have ever seen in my 51 yrs, but the person responsible for this lies with the President. His role is to unite us and this is where Obamas biggest failure is. Bill Clinton and Ronald Regan had this ability but Obama has none of this. He is a great speaker, a nice person with a nice family, and an amazing celebrity, but none of these attributes make him a good leader. I am embarrassed to be an American with our current chosen representatives.

    October 4, 2013 at 1:07 am | Report abuse | Reply
  8. Margaret

    Let's put all of this into perspective. Who is really paying for everything? We gross $120,000. WOW! That is a lot of $! Why are you complaining? Fed taxes $12,000, NYS taxes $$8000, property/school taxes $4900, tuition 2 kids in college(no federal assistance, but with scholarships) $40,000, Healthcare insurance (2500 deductible) $4200, SS Tax $4500, Medicare tax $1865, charity $8000. That leaves $36000 for mortgage, house insurance, car insurance, electric and gas, phone, food, gas, retirement. There is nothing to save. No wonder no one works. In NYS, a family of 4 can get up to $50,000 in government assistance. Thank you Republicans for fighting for the people who really pay the bills.

    October 4, 2013 at 3:00 am | Report abuse | Reply
    • S D

      So.... you are good enough to be making $120,000, but AFTER scholarships, you put out $40K per year in college tuition? Did you not save any prior? Or are you being disingenuous about how much of your annual income goes to college?

      I truly love to hear people who make $120K complain about how their life choices (failure to save for college, CHOICE to live in NY, etc) make it difficult to live on the $36K they have left over... make light of people who's life choices, or situations, require them to pay for everything, including education, health insurance, taxes, charity, with a gross income significantly less than that $36K to start with.

      October 4, 2013 at 8:28 am | Report abuse | Reply

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