If it seems like we just survived the threat of a government shutdown, you would be correct. There was a huge budget battle around this time last year which gifted us with the gift that won’t stop giving… sequestration.
After that it was that little nugget of goodness we all know and love-to-hate: the never-ending, ever-circular debt ceiling debate at the end of the year that managed to drag itself into the new year.
So, here we are….AGAIN.
I suppose we’ve started to get used to the government squabbling that seems altogether too common the past several years. And somehow they’ve pulled through with a Hail Mary or two just before all heck breaks loose, to avoid a shutdown. Only this time, the threat of a shutdown is a very real possibility.
Government Shutdown 2013 Play-by-Play
Everybody’s first question seems to be “why?”
On top of the Democrats and Republicans not being too willing to compromise with each other to get a budget deal passed, the Republicans are battling with…get this…each other. You see, the Tea Party sector of the Republican Party is not willing to negotiate with the rest of the Republicans. The Tea Party, particularly Senator Cruz (TX) and Senator Lee (UT), has successfully pushed a budget bill through the House that would fund the government while at the same time effectively defending the Affordable Care Act, better known as “Obamacare”.
Now the Senate Republicans are up to vote on the budget bill passed along by the House, however, the vote is currently on hold because Sen. Cruz is vowing to stand up and talk until he can no longer do so, better known as a filibuster. Now, add to that the fact that the Senate is controlled by the Democrats – do you really think the Democrats are going to agree to back a bill that defunds the ACA?And do you really think that President Obama will agree to let a bill pass that defunds his pride and joy?
NO – on all accounts!
So this move to try and pass a bill that is not passable but is being upheld by just a handful of people will likely not be resolved within a week.
So what does it all mean? We will very likely face our first government shutdown since 1996.
How the Government Shutdown Will Impact The Military Community
The short answer is we really don’t know. It ‘s been so long since our last shutdown and honestly, the consequences of this possible event depend on exactly how long the shutdown lasts.
1. Military Pay
Military pay is a part of the defense budget. No budget passed, no pay. Military members are considered to be “essential personal” and are still expected to show up for work – with an IOU for compensation in return.
One thing to remember is that the pay for October 1 will be direct deposited into accounts September 30, which would be right before any shutdown would occur. You will see a paycheck then. Pay for October 15th and on could be threatened.
Several financial institutions have made public announcements that they will cover the October 15th pay period if necessary. Please visit the websites for USAA, NFCU, and MFCU for further details.
2. Civilian Employees
Essential personnel will be expected to work, others may be sent home or furloughed…again.
MTFs could be limited to serving active duty personnel only. Again, some employees could be furloughed causing a shortage in providers and support staff. Tricare may not be affected right away but faces challenges is the shutdown continues for a length of time.
4. PCSs and Promotions
Depending on the length of time they both could be placed on hold allowing on essential troop movement to continue.
What Can You do to Prepare Your Military Family for the Government Shutdown?
This time the shutdown could really happen. Make sure your family is financially prepared. And in the event of an emergency do not seek out pay day loans or cash advance loans. Check out our list of emergency relief agencies for each branch of service.
Contact your local and state representatives. We should not have to be held hostage to their political antics. Their pay is not tied to the budget, the ACA is not tied to the budget, but our lives are tied to the budget. Without hearing from us, they do not understand the amount of pressure they are placing on the very families who make great sacrifices to defend this country.
Capitol Hill image by VinothChandar via CC. by 2.0.