Military Paychecks Likely Delayed in Shutdown

WASHINGTON -- Military troops, including those in conflict zones, may have their paychecks delayed if elected officials in Washington can't work out a deal to fund government operations in the new fiscal year starting Oct. 1, the Pentagon said Monday.

Civilians, however, would require an act of Congress to get retroactive pay.

Pentagon press secretary George Little said Defense Department would send a memo later in the day Monday to notify DOD employees that the White House Office of Management and Budget had directed the Pentagon update its plans for a shutdown, as reported by Stars and Stripes last week.

As has been the case in recent years when earlier shutdowns threatened, military members will continue to serve regardless of the funding status of the government. Some civilians deemed necessary for the safety of life and property would also be required to stay on the job.

But officials have yet to determine which civilians would remain at work, Little said. In April 2011, when legislators worked out a continuing resolution to fund the government just about an hour before government funding lapsed, Pentagon officials had been estimating half of civilians would be furloughed.

Those who were to keep working included medical workers, teachers at DoDEA schools and emergency first responders, as well as others whose absence would immediately impede military operations. Divisions not funded directly by Congressional appropriations also would not be subject to a shutdown.

Little said that if the government shuts down, Pentagon officials don't know the deadline for the government to reopen in time for military members to get their next paycheck on time.

Military members are assured of eventually receiving back pay, but not civilians.

"A lapse in appropriations would mean that DOD civilian personnel would not be automatically entitled to retroactive pay, and that a subsequent act by Congress would need to restore that pay," Little said.

If an ideologically deadlocked Congress fails to make another 11th-hour deal and the government does shut down -- something that hasn't happened since December 1995 -- Little said all civilian employees should report Tuesday morning to find out if they are to stay at work or be furloughed.

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