Thousands of Fort Hood employees went to work Tuesday morning only to be sent home without pay, prompting a rally at the post's main gate.

The government shutdown that took effect at midnight put hundreds of thousands out of work across the nation.

Now as lawmakers fight over the budget, some government employees fight to put food on the table.

"Government workers want to work!" chanted Tracy Foster, just hours after she received her furlough notice.

At her side were other Fort Hood workers who were also told not to come to work and not to expect a paycheck.

"We don't know how long we're going to be furloughed, and I have one son in college, and I have a daughter in high school, so you know it will affect my income tremendously," Tracy said.

This is the second wave of government furloughs to hit her and others this year.

The first round was cause by sequestration.

Samuel Boles with the American Federation of Government Employees said, "The majority of our federal employees were just kind of getting back on their feet trying to catch up on their bills from the last furlough."

Employees not considered essential to health, safety and deployments were given a letter when they got to work.

"You are to be placed on furlough status, effective 1 October 2013," Harrison Riggins reads his out loud.

It says his maintenance mechanic services are not needed at this time.

"It was devastating to get to work at six in the morning and leave work at 11 and try to go figure out what next," Harrison said.

Though it is still unclear just how long the shutdown will last, the notice says the mandatory unpaid leaves expire in 31 days.

"That's a long time for people to be without funds," said Simon Ferdin, who was also told to leave work Tuesday.

Furloughed employees were also sent home with instructions for filing for unemployment, something they may have to do in order to take care of their families.

"If it goes beyond a couple of days, then that is one of the options I'm definitely going to have to look into," Tracy said.

Meanwhile she's hoping lawmakers break the gridlock, before she breaks the bank.

Reporter: Sophia Stamas

Photographer: Chris Buford