Why does it feel like Deja-Vu lately when watching the news? How are they talking about government shutdowns again? It seems like it was just a few months ago when we were facing a government shutdown, and the loss of many government services, including the risk of soldiers serving in war not getting paid.
Earlier this week the Senate passed quick legislation averting a shut-down and a cutoff of emergency aid provided by FEMA. The continuing resolution will fund the government through Nov. 18, “giving the two sides more time to haggle over long-term spending levels.”
So now our Government is back to approving multiple rounds of short-term legislation in order to keep the boat afloat. Besides the distraction it causes Congress, it also causes a lot of stress on federally paid employees and contractors.
Back in the spring there were several attempts to introduce legislation to keep the military paid regardless of what happened with a shutdown. Now that we see this same disruption in our faces again, it seems legislation is once again being introduced to not only protect the federal military but also federal police.
Rep. Michael Fitzpatrick introduced legislation in the House to ensure military personnel and federal law enforcement officers continued to receive pay and benefits even if the government were to shutdown.
While this is an important step, it does not relieve the entire Congress from working hard and working now to agree on a budget and get it passed as soon as possible. It’s clear we’re in for a serious belt-tightening across the defense industry, but ongoing uncertainty is worse than simply knowing what’s going to be cut and being able to plan for it.
The last fiscal year saw continuing resolutions stretch well beyond a reasonable timeframe, causing uncertainty in both the federal and contracting workforce. Even the threat of government shutdown prompts wasted time, as workforces prepare contingency plans and have to work through what will take place if a shutdown occurs. Government employees face furloughs that could leave them with unpaid bills and contractors are left wondering if they’ll still be paid a salary even if their company is not.
It’s bad business and it’s bad for security clearances – credit issues can mean security clearance issues down the road. Dealing with the uncertainty of another months-long cycle of continuing resolutions and the potential to not receive a paycheck is stressful in any economic time, but especially today.
How are you dealing with the government shutdown deja-vu? Did you learn something from the first-round of shutdown talks?
Troy is an Army brat and the father of combat medic. He is also a retired Infantry Senior NCO with multiple combat tours, in addition to several stateside deployments. Troy retired from the Army not long after switching careers from the Information Technology Consulting industry to becoming a Contractor for the US Army. He serves on several task-forces and enjoys still visiting and working with soldiers every day. Troy is also a recognized and multiple-award winning military blogger who writes at www.bouhammer.com, and a familiar person in many social media circles.