In a dramatic announcement dripping with irony, National Security Council Spokesman John Kirby confirmed this week what many already suspected. Servicemembers of the US armed forces will not be paid if the federal government shuts down as widely expected.
But military and financial assistance to Ukraine will not be interrupted.
Kirby noted that while military personnel will continue to report for duty, they would not be paid during a shutdown.
Also, a large swath of the hundreds of thousands of civilians employed by the Department of Defense (DOD) would be furloughed. The DOD also announced that post and base services would be shut down or limited.
Overseas commissaries would remain open but those on U.S. soil would close. Elective medical and dental procedures would be postponed, and the Pentagon’s planning and recruitment programs would pause.
— The Hill (@thehill) September 22, 2023
House Republicans are stepping up to ensure this travesty does not unfold and American troops and civilian contractors get paid. But Kirby detailed the dilemma faced by those who defend the nation.
They will continue to perform, just without compensation.
Rep. Jen Kiggans (R-VA), a Navy veteran, told Fox News Digital that the House has provisions for active duty personnel in the works. They are also targeting the Coast Guard as well as civilians and contractors who support the nation’s military.
She said the GOP does not want a government shutdown and work continues to head that off. “But God forbid that doesn’t happen, we need to have…that reassurance for people, a group of people that I care very passionately about and that the country needs to be prioritizing.”
That, Kiggans declared, is our military.
She introduced a bill that received bipartisan support to keep funding in place for the military. However, little progress has been made toward an overall agreement.
Kiggans, who represents a strong military district, said the situation “changes every 15 minutes.”
Pentagon spokesperson Sabrina Singh told CNN on Tuesday that the total number of troops and support personnel who could miss paychecks is over one million.
The Senate and House are struggling to reach an agreement on funding the federal government. There is not a defense funding bill currently in place, and if that situation continues into a shutdown, these essential defenders of the nation will go unpaid.
But not Ukraine.