Sec. Gates Warns Shutdown Could Hurt Military Families

While on a visit to Baghdad, Defense Secretary Robert Gates told reporters that young service members and their families would be the first and hardest hit should the federal government shutdown, even for a week. Below is a portion of an American Forces Press Service article by John D. Banusiewicz. You can read the full story here.

Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates. DoD photo by Monica King, U.S. Army.

BAGHDAD, April 7, 2011 – While emphasizing that service members eventually will receive the pay they would earn during a government shutdown, Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates acknowledged here today that if the government shuts down for a week starting tomorrow, their mid-month paychecks would include only the pay they earned for the first week of the month.

During a visit with U.S. Division Center soldiers at Camp Liberty, the first question posed to the secretary concerned the possibility of a government shutdown and the effect it would have on service members’ pay.

“Over time, they won’t lose anything,” the secretary told reporters after the visit. “But you all know as well as I do that a lot of these young troops live pretty much paycheck to paycheck, and when I start to think about the inconvenience that it’s going to cause these kids and a lot of their families, even half a paycheck delayed can be a problem for them.”

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