Pentagon braces for possible govt shutdown
WASHINGTON – The Pentagon on Thursday warned of possible weapons delays and other military ramifications if the government shuts down over a budget deal impasse or passes a stop-gap spending bill to avert it.
The US government is facing the looming prospect of shutting down as Republicans and Democrats wrangle over federal spending.
Top leaders from both parties were due to meet at the White House later Thursday to try to avert a shutdown, or agree on a two-week interim funding measure called a “continuing resolution.”
Both would be bad for the military, Pentagon comptroller David Norquist warned, noting that “no one gets paid” in the event of a full shutdown.
“The civilians who report to duty do not get paid, the military who are in theater do not get paid,” he told reporters.
In 2013, a similar spending feud caused 850,000 government officials to be sent home temporarily.
National parks closed for two weeks and as much as half a percentage point was shaved off economic growth.
Norquist said Defense Department personnel “earn the rights” to being paid, but their money would only come after a shutdown had ended.
A shutdown would also result in death benefits to relatives of troops killed in the line of duty would also be paused.
As for a continuing resolution, Norquist said that has knock-on effects for the military and potentially for commanders across America’s many zones of conflict.
For instance, some contracts to build up the Pentagon’s depleted munitions stockpiles would be put on hold until after a proper budget is passed, potentially causing delays to shipments and to private weapons contractors hiring the people they need to build the armaments.
“It is very disruptive,” Norquist said.