TULSA - The government shutdown that began eleven days ago forced hundreds of thousands of federal workers to stay at home, unable to collect a check or pay the bills.
"These are innocent families. They didn't get to vote on the shutdown. They didn't walk off the job. They didn't do something wrong. They just worked at a government agency at the wrong time," said Tulsa businessman Bill Bartmann.
Bartmann is not just offering sympathy, but a helping hand.
During the shutdown, debt collection company, CFS2, is contacting banks and others that furloughed workers may owe money to.
"We're not asking for forgiveness. We're not asking to wipe out the debt. We're just saying put the debt on hold for whatever amount of time the government is shut down," explained Bartmann.
His company made similar requests on behalf of victims of the Moore, El Reno and Shawnee tornadoes.
So far, most organizations that have been asked to hold off on collecting payments appear receptive.
"There are some who are a little less eager to do it than others," said Bartmann.
Bartmann, who has faced his own set of challenges, including surviving a scandal that helped tank his previous company, said his daughter, who works at CFS2, came up with the idea.
Neither Bartmann nor his company profits off the program.
"We don't get paid. We don't charge anything," said Bartmann. "That employee will get his job back. And that employee will get some money again and that employee will then be able to pay his bills."
Bartmann said union representatives and the federal agencies will tell furloughed workers about the program his company is offering.
Several banks and credit unions are also offering special breaks for their customers who are impacted by the federal shutdown.
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