U.S. Troops Will Fight Without Pay If The Government Shuts Down

The White House, Senate Democrats, and congressional Republicans are currently locked in intense negotiations, trying to find agreement on a plan to fund the government and avoid a shutdown. Pentagon spokesman Geoff Morrell said this week that the Pentagon would still be able “to continue to protect our vital interests around the world, to continue to safeguard the nation’s security, to wage the wars we’re fighting and the operations that we are conducting right now.” However, while U.S. troops will remain engaged in those overseas operations, they won’t get paid for it, the AP reports:

U.S. military troops at war in Iraq and Afghanistan would receive one-week’s pay instead of two in their next paycheck if the government shuts down this weekend due to the federal budget impasse, according to a senior defense official.

The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss personnel issues, said the military can’t be paid during a funding lapse until a new appropriations bill or continuing resolution is passed by Congress.

If the funding bill expires on April 8, it will be in the middle of the military’s two-week pay period, so Pentagon would send out paychecks for just the first week of the pay period, said the official.

As the Cable’s Josh Rogin reports, after that initial one-week’s worth paycheck, “all uniformed military personnel would continue to work but would stop receiving paychecks.”

If the federal government shuts down, “you could have forces deployed in the field, with their families back home, and no one’s getting paid. And that could be an issue,” the defense official said.

Last week, Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX) introduced a bill that would allow troops to continue to receive pay if the government shuts down. “When we heard that the military was concerned about whether or not they would get paid on time, then we rushed through and we got this bill done,” Gohmert said.


Matt Yglesias writes, “Under federal law, many classes of federal employees keep needing to work if the government shuts down. FBI agents serving under cover won’t suddenly drop out, and federal prisons will keep operating. But the people who do these jobs won’t get paid.”

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