In a recent interview with Defense News editor Vago Muradian, Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman Adm. Mike Mullen expressed his concern for military families if Congress does not raise the debt limit:
MULLEN: Well we went through a period of time where I know everyone was aware we almost shut the government down and that – the preparation that we had for that certainly was instructive on what we had to do. I certainly hope we don’t get to that point again.
One of the first questions that a spouse asked me I was out at a trip out on the West coast it was a National Guard spouse that asked me if she was going to get paid and her husband’s deployed. And that becomes a fundamental question. Some of our troops and some of our families they really are living paycheck to paycheck so I think we have to be very careful with that.
Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner recently warned Congress that the military may not get paid if the debt ceiling isn’t raised:
“If Congress failed to increase the debt limit, a broad range of government payments would have to be stopped, limited or delayed, including military salaries and retirement benefits, Social Security and Medicare payments, interest on the debt, unemployment benefits and tax refunds,” Geithner said. “This would cause severe hardship to American families and raise questions about our ability to defend our national security interests.”
Rep. Duncan D. Hunter (R-CA) introduced legislation in April providing for continued payment to the Armed Forces in the event that the debt ceiling is reached.