WASHINGTON, DC – Troops will not be paid during a government shutdown if Congress fails to pass a budget or another short-term spending measure by Friday midnight, according to the Pentagon.
Troops will have to continue reporting for duty and will accrue pay, but cannot be paid until the actual money is appropriated, said Pentagon spokesman Christopher Sherwood in a statement to Breitbart News on Tuesday.
President Trump is not able to exempt troops from a government shutdown, he said.
Defense civilians will be furloughed, except for those who support activities “that are necessary for the safety of life and protection of property,” he said. They would also not receive pay until the passing of a budget.
Once a 2018 budget is passed, Sherwood said, troops will receive back pay, which will include a 2.4 percent pay raise that went into effect on January 1, 2018.
This Friday is the deadline for Congress to pass a 2018 government budget or a short-term spending measure known as a continuing resolution that would give the government more time to come up with a full-year budget.
A continuing resolution, which the government has been operating under since the 2018 fiscal year began on October 1, 2017, would extend 2017 spending levels but would not allow for any spending or programs to begin.
A continuing resolution is especially problematic for the Pentagon, which is trying to rebuild military readiness after almost two decades of continuous war. A short-term continuing resolution also does not provide the Pentagon with the ability to sign multi-year contracts to lower costs on weapons systems and other procurements.
Congress has been unable to reach a budget deal this fiscal year and has already passed three short-term CRs, with the latest ending on Friday.
Republicans would need nine Democratic or independent votes in the Senate for any spending bill to pass, and Democrats have rejected passing any bill if there is not also a fix for Dreamers – those who entered the country illegally as minors under the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) policy, which Trump reversed last year.
Although Congress has until March 5 to find a fix, Democrats are insisting that it be tied to the 2018 spending bill, which is must-pass legislation.
However, Trump and some Republicans say the Democrats are not negotiating in good faith, and they are trying to raise the issue because they believe it is good for them politically while heading into midterm elections this November.
After Trump met with Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Republican senators in the Oval Office last week, it was leaked to the Washington Post that the president had reportedly called Haiti and African nations “shithole” countries.
The president has denied saying the particular remarks attributed to him, and several of the Republican participants, Sens. Tom Cotton (AR) and David Perdue (GA) have said he did not make those remarks.
“President Trump brought everyone to the table this week and listened to both sides. But regrettably, it seems that not everyone is committed to negotiating in good faith,” Cotton and Perdue said in a statement on Friday.
House Republicans on Tuesday evening pitched a new strategy to avoid a shutdown, according to the Hill: passing another continuing resolution to fund the government through February 16, but also extend funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program for six years, and delay Obamacare’s medical device and Cadillac taxes for two years, and the health insurance tax for one year, starting in 2019. It is not clear Senate Democrats would go along with it, however.
And defense hawks on Capitol Hill are threatening to vote against another short-term spending measure, which they say harms the military. Some want to see full-year 2018 defense funding and short-term spending for the rest of the government.
Several, including House Armed Services Committee chairman Mac Thornberry (R-TX), has reportedly threatened to vote against it.
“I am increasingly concerned, for example, on the DACA deal, that some people may not want to resolve the issue,” he said. “They may rather have the issue out there because they think it’s to their political advantage. … They still say expressly they’re not going to vote for military funding until DACA is resolved, but they may not want to resolve DACA because they’re getting political benefit out of it.”
On Tuesday morning, Trump tweeted that the Democrats wanted to shut down the government over amnesty, and the biggest “loser” would be the military.
“The Democrats want to shut down the Government over Amnesty for all and Border Security. The biggest loser will be our rapidly rebuilding Military, at a time we need it more than ever. We need a merit based system of immigration, and we need it now! No more dangerous Lottery”:
The Democrats want to shut down the Government over Amnesty for all and Border Security. The biggest loser will be our rapidly rebuilding Military, at a time we need it more than ever. We need a merit based system of immigration, and we need it now! No more dangerous Lottery.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 16, 2018