Many in the Bay Area don't remember the government shutdown orchestrated by then Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich. The simple minded called it a "vacation" for government workers but instead it negatively affected millions of workers across the country who were willing and able to go to work but were barred from doing so. It was ugly and it might happen again.
The furlough lasted about 2 weeks. Only employees that were deemed essential were allowed to enter the gate. Some of these employees were working Mission Control Center or security, but the vast majority were not considered essential. Employees were not allowed to work at home or use vacation to continue to work. Paychecks stopped, so did the mortgage payment or college expenses, or that vacation that was planned. Contractors were not allowed on site since the government was shut down. Their work status during this time varied.
In 1996 the shutdown backfired on Gingrich which cost his party seats in Congress and eventually his job as Speaker. In the end Congress authorized back pay allowing employees to return to work and catch up on their bills.
With the rotten teabag party in charge of the House, Civil Service employees will not be that lucky this time. Because of the teabagger's incredible stupity, ignorance, and cold hardheartedness, NASA civil service employees and contractors will be treated to a vacation without pay.