Furloughs Begin as Congress Moves to End Shutdown


The third day of the shutdown brought the onset of massive furloughs Monday at the Defense Department with pay issues on hold, even as the Senate passed yet another stopgap funding measure aimed at putting the government back in operation at least until early February.

The Senate voted 81-18 to end debate on what would be the fourth stopgap funding bill, called a continuing resolution, that would end the shutdown and keep the government running at 2017 spending levels through Feb. 8.

Democrats joined Republicans in voting for the CR, which came with promises from Republicans to move on immigration reform, including the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program for an estimated 800,000 individuals brought to the U.S. as minors.

"We will vote today to reopen the government," Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, a New York Democrat, said in a floor speech prior to the vote.

The Senate action is expected to pass in the House, although House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, a California Democrat, said at a morning news conference, "There will be a large number of our members who won't support it."

During the shutdown, service members were still required to report for duty, though they were officially not getting paid.

Training for Guard and Reserve personnel was mostly canceled, commissaries were closing, and outpatient care at base facilities was being postponed.

According to Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, about half of the DoD's civilian workforce of more than 750,000 faced furloughs if the shutdown continued.

Passage of the CR would mean that the impacts of the shutdown will be reversed, at least until Feb. 8.

-- Richard Sisk can be reached at Richard.Sisk@Military.com.

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