Military pay, and that of some specific federal contractors and civilians, will continue to be paid even though our government has shutdown. Late Monday evening, President Obama signed HR 3210, Pay Our Military Act. Under this bill, military servicemembers will continue to be paid on schedule regardless of the status of a government shutdown. Whoohoooo!
The federal contractors and civilians who are protected in the act are those “whom the Secretary concerned determines are providing support to members of the Armed Forces”. In this case, the Secretary refers to either the Secretary of Defense (Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps) or the Secretary of Homeland Security (Coast Guard.)
Also on Monday, Senator Bernie Sanders introduced a bill to prevent the Department of Veteran Affairs (VA) from running out of money to pay disability, survivor and educational benefits. Many VA functions, including health care, are not affected by a shutdown, but some vital programs could eventually be impacted. While VA payments are currently OK, an extended shutdown could mean that the VA does not have enough money to meet all its obligations. This bill has a few hurdles and it’s chances of becoming law are not yet clear.
While this bill does not solve all the issues, I know that many people will be delighted by this news!