‘Horrible.’ Federal shutdown would affect thousands of Ohio service members

White House says 6,800 service members in Ohio could be forced to work without pay.

The last day of the federal government’s fiscal year is Saturday. Unless a deal is reached in coming hours, federal appropriations for military and other functions will lapse.

More than two million military personnel nationally will be expected to keep working during what’s called a federal government “shutdown,” even though many federal functions continue, such as mail delivery, law enforcement and air traffic control.

It’s unclear at this point when military members will be paid or whether last-minute legislation to pay them will be passed. Some of the first post-shutdown checks would be due Oct. 13.

For the Dayton area — home to the state’s largest employer in one location, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, and thousands who work for area defense contractors — a lapse in federal spending has wide implications.

Impacts are already being seen locally. The annual Ohio Defense and Aerospace Forum will not take place Oct. 2 and 3 due to uncertainty surrounding the federal budget, the Dayton Development Coalition announced Thursday.

“So the shutdown is the worst thing that could happen,” Deputy Pentagon Press Secretary Sabrina Singh told reporters this week. “We’re hoping that Congress can find a way to avert that, but, you know, planning for the worst.”

A temporary continuing resolution funding government would be “bad,” but a shutdown would be “horrible,” said William A. LaPlante, undersecretary of defense for acquisition and sustainment.

For example, in 2013, during the government shutdown that year, factory workers were sent home, the Department of Defense noted this week. Production lines on things like munitions and the F-35 Lightning II stealth multirole aircraft stopped.

“We’re going to pass a spending bill. We’ll just have to see when,” U.S. Rep. Mike Turner, R-Dayton, told Face the Nation Sunday. “Stay tuned.”

Here’s some of what the nation can expect:

A shutdown officially starts at 12:01 a.m. Sunday if Congress does not pass a funding plan that the president signs into law.

A Pentagon planning document issued in August said military personnel on active duty, including Reserve personnel on federal active duty, will continue to report for duty.

“Troops would go without pay,” Singh said. “Military families would be impacted, of course. For folks that are not getting paychecks, that impacts, you know, how and when you can buy groceries, childcare, all of these things. Commissaries would be closed on bases.”

“Those bills are going to mount up,” she added Thursday. “It’s an incredibly stressful time.”

Credit: AP

Credit: AP

Several senators have introduced the “Pay Our Military Act of 2023″ to ensure America’s military members are paid in the event of a lapse in funding.

But civilian personnel who are not necessary to carry out or support “excepted activities,” are to be furloughed, the Pentagon document states. In some cases, military members will fill in for furloughed civilians.

About half of the Defense Department’s civilian workforce, some 440,000 people, can expect to be furloughed.

TDY (temporary duty) travel and conference participation scheduled to begin after the shutdown occurs should be cancelled, with some exceptions, the Pentagon also said.

Contractors working under a contract or contract option awarded before the shutdown could keep on working, up to the limit of the funds obligated before the shutdown.

According to the White House this week, some 34,600 active-duty military service-members in Kentucky and 6,800 in Ohio could be forced to work without pay.

Singling out Republicans in Congress, the White House said this week they should “explain to the military servicemembers living in Kentucky and Ohio who will continue to do their jobs even without their paychecks why they are wasting their time attacking President Biden with debunked conspiracies instead of trying to avoid the calamitous consequences of the House Republican government shutdown. This is exactly the kind of extreme, partisan politics the American people are sick and tired of.”

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