Families of military personnel prepare for yet another deadline for a potential government shutdown.

Families of military personnel prepare for yet another deadline for a potential government shutdown.

Besa Pinchotti was multitasking in her vehicle, using her mobile phone to return calls while also taking her children to the dentist. After a brief pause, she stated into her phone, “Military families are tired of being used as political tools.”

After a brief pause, she stressed the word “sick.”

2016 dispute resolution agreement

Pinchotti, who is married to a former member of the U.S. Marine Corps, manages an email list for the National Military Family Association in Virginia. She has sent out multiple warnings to military families over the past six months regarding the harmful effects of a 2016 agreement surrounding dispute resolution.government shutdown.

Provide funding for the national government. If an agreement is not reached by the end of this week, important programs and services for members of the military and their families will be forced to close. If a deal is not made by March 8, there is a possibility that operations at the Pentagon could be disrupted.

Short-term continuing resolutions
Congress reached an agreement mere hours before the previous two deadlines for government shutdowns, causing a chaotic pattern for federal employees and military members who fear their wages and benefits may be affected. This game of political brinkmanship has resurfaced once more.

Pinchotti stated that due to the repetitive use of continuing resolutions, families are constantly experiencing uncertainty.

The initial of the two due dates, occurring at 11:59 p.m. on Friday, puts the federal government’s WIC program at risk. This program offers food and nutritional aid for women and children. According to the National Military Family Association, over 200,000 military families depend on WIC services.

There is a possibility of the SNAP program, which supports low-income families, experiencing interruptions in April due to a shutdown. This program assists families, including those with ties to the military, with obtaining food.

According to Democratic Representative Ro Khanna from California, nearly half of the spouses of junior enlisted service members have reported facing issues with food insecurity. Any reductions or delays in food assistance programs would have a significant and negative impact. It is highly unjust that Republicans are risking another government shutdown and prioritizing their political agenda over the well-being of our nation’s security and those who defend it.

There is a possibility that military personnel may experience delays or interruptions in receiving their paychecks by the end of March.

Representative Abigail Spanberger, a Democrat, stated that the courageous Marines stationed at Marine Corps Base Quantico in her district, as well as the numerous service members and military families she represents, should not have to question whether they will receive their next paycheck or be able to utilize the essential benefits that assist these families in meeting their financial needs.

Congressional representatives have also expressed concern about potential interruptions at military installations. In a report released in November, prior to a previous government funding deadline, the Partnership for Public Service, located in Washington, D.C., cautioned that there could be limitations or closures of services at posts and bases, postponement of elective medical procedures, which could negatively impact morale, and delays in critical training activities, resulting in postponed promotions.

The American Legion has released alerts regarding possible interruptions to its members. In a statement released before a previous government shutdown deadline in October, the group highlighted the potential danger to military enlistment.

The American Legion stated that a large number of civilians within the Department of Defense (DoD) may be put on furlough, impacting the department’s global operations. This also includes the recruitment of new members, which has already been a challenge for the service branches.

Representative Rob Wittman, the vice-chair of the House Armed Services Committee, stated that the lack of certainty is a reminder that Congress should prioritize passing government funding bills in the correct sequence. It is not feasible to continuously jeopardize the well-being of our military personnel and their loved ones by potentially withholding their pay or eliminating important resources.

The Congress is facing challenges as it moves from one deadline to another, trying to navigate through divided control and historically small majorities. Both current Republican House Speaker Mike Johnson and former Rep. Kevin McCarthy have relied on strong Democratic support to pass short-term spending deals. The Republican majority in the House has decreased even more after Democrats won the special election in New York’s 3rd Congressional District earlier this month.

occupying the vacancy left by ex-Representative George Santos.

Both sides have blamed each other for prolonging or worsening the deadlock that is currently preventing the approval of long-term spending agreements that would offer greater stability for military families.

Congress has been unsuccessful in reaching a shared agreement on significant laws or undertakings aimed at enhancing the overall well-being of those serving in the military.

Rep. Jen Kiggans, a Republican representing a significant U.S. Navy community near Newport News, Virginia, expressed the urgent need for pay raises for our service members in light of the reliance on programs like WIC by these families.

In September, Kiggans proposed a bill that guarantees payment for service members in case of a government shutdown.

Pinchotti said the latest round of brinkmanship comes at a particularly sensitive moment for her family and others who have relatives in the U.S. military.   

Pinchotti stated that now is the moment to select summer camps, make vacation plans, and get ready for potential moves in the upcoming school year. They expressed feeling overwhelmed by the unknown.

Scott MacFarlane

Source: cbsnews.com