According to AFP, the Pentagon announced today, Friday Sept 27th, that the US military's nearly 1.4 million troops will stay on the job in the case of a government shutdown but they will not get paid.
In fact, civilian Pentagon employees would not receive retroactive pay without a “legislative fix” by Congress.
The war effort in Afghanistan and other high-priority missions would not be affected but most training and a range of maintenance work would be cancelled if Congress remains deadlocked, according to the Pentagon's top financial officer Robert Hale.
During the government shut down, defense contractors would have to work in a vacuum, when normally they rely on give-and-take with government employees. “The government will cease to function, except for a very limited number of essential people,” she predicted.
"We wouldn't be able to do most training, we couldn't enter into most new contracts, routine maintenance would have to stop," he told reporters.
Defense officials outlined how the military would operate under a shutdown as a deeply divided Congress argued over rival spending bills, with the clock ticking on the Monday deadline.
"Military personnel will not be paid until such time as Congress makes appropriated funds available to compensate them for this period of service," Deputy Defense Secretary Ash Carter wrote in a memo describing contingency plans for a shutdown.
Carl Levin, the Democratic chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, called the possible government closure "unconscionable" and urged Republicans in the House to pass a proposed budget bill that has already cleared the Senate.
"A shutdown would require our troops to go into combat while receiving only an IOU, put hundreds of thousands of DoD (Department of Defense) civilians on furlough without pay, and could even delay death benefits to the families of troops who fall in combat," Levin said.
The Defense Department placed more than 600,000 civilian workers on unpaid leave for several days due to the budget cuts, which are also the result of a political impasse in Congress.
The last time the US government closed its doors was in 1995, and military personnel were paid.
Emily Sutherlin is also the Pregnancy Examiner.
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