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 McConnellFormer Bush assistant: Mueller report makes Obama look 'just plain bad' 20 years after Columbine, Dems bullish on gun reform Dem says marijuana banking bill will get House vote this spring 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 TrumpImpeachment? Not so fast without missing element of criminal intent Feds say marijuana ties could prevent immigrants from getting US citizenship Trump approval drops to 2019 low after Mueller report's release: poll 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.