NASA employees protest shutdown at Johnson Space Center

About 50 NASA employees furloughed during the partial government shutdown protested outside of the Johnson Space Center in Houston on Tuesday.

Demonstrators held PayDay candy bars and signs criticizing Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellTrump faces crucial decisions on economy, guns Are Democrats turning Trump-like? House Democrat calls for gun control: Cities can ban plastic straws but 'we can't ban assault weapons?' MORE (R-Ky.), The Houston Chronicle reported.

“Mitch McConnell, the ball’s in your court,” one protest sign read.


The Kentucky Republican on Tuesday blocked, for a second time, a House-passed package to reopen the federal government.

McConnell has blocked the bills, saying the Senate wouldn't "participate in something that doesn't lead to an outcome."

He has pledged not to bring legislation to the floor unless there is a deal between President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump pushes back on recent polling data, says internal numbers are 'strongest we've had so far' Illinois state lawmaker apologizes for photos depicting mock assassination of Trump Scaramucci assembling team of former Cabinet members to speak out against Trump MORE and Democrats on border security, a lack of agreement on which triggered the shutdown on Dec. 22. 

"The solution to this is a negotiation between the one person in the country who can sign something into law, the president of the United States, and our Democratic colleagues," McConnell said.

Most of the 3,055 people at the Johnson Space Center as well as 16,700 NASA employees nationwide do not know when they will go back to work 

The center is home to the nation’s astronaut corps, the Chronicle noted, adding that astronauts train there for space flight research, International Space Station (ISS) mission operations and the Orion program.

There are roughly 200 federal employees still working there to ensure the safety of the astronauts aboard the ISS.