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"Shutdown" could affect cops, spies and deployed troops: U.S. Officials

by: jim kouri | published: 04 08, 2011

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The FBI, CIA, DEA and other U.S. law enforcement and intelligence agencies are planning possible employee furloughs in the event of a federal government shutdown, government officials said today.

Several national security and counterterrorism officials stated that their agencies had plans for furloughs if the U.S. Congress and the Obama White House don't come up with a budget plan to keep government agencies running.

U.S. agencies plan to furlough employees deemed engaged in "nonessential" work. The units engaged in counterterrorism or protection services have already made extensive plans outlining which workers are considered essential and which are not.

"Employees whose work is critical to national security will continue to work during a funding lapse," according to a government press statement.

During his visit to Iraq Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates acknowledged Thursday that a government shutdown for a week starting Friday would only effect the pay service members earned the first week of the month, according to American Forces Press Service.

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, said John Banusiewicz of the AFPS.

"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.

"So I hope they work this whole thing out," he added.

Shouts of "Hooah!" rang out among the 175 soldiers gathered for the secretary's visit when Gates began his answer to a question about the possible shutdown by saying, "First of all, let me say you will be paid."

Gates joked that as a historian, it always has occurred to him that "a smart thing for government is always to pay the guys with the guns first." But he then explained how the shutdown would affect the soldiers' pay.

"Based on some stuff I read this morning, if the government shutdown starts on the 8th and goes for a week, you'd get half a check," he said. "If it goes from the 15th to the 30th, you wouldn't get a paycheck on the 30th, but you would be back-paid for all of it [when the government resumes operations]."

Service members are paid on the 15th and last day of each month, according to Banusiewicz.

Gates told the soldiers he knows that could present a tough situation for them.

"Frankly, I remember when I was your age, I did a lot of living from paycheck to paycheck," he said, "and so I hope this thing doesn't happen, because I know it'll be an inconvenience for a lot of troops."

 
 
 
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