Congress is on track to proceed with a government shutdown on Oct. 1 because they are not expected to pass the 12 bills that fund government operations before the start of the new fiscal year. This w affect many in the workforce, but it will also affect military workers, who are out in the field continuing to serve and protect our country.
John Kirby is the coordinator for strategic communications for the White House and spoke with rolling out about a possible government shutdown.
What could happen during a possible government shutdown and how would it affect the military?
I joined when I was 23 years old, and like our troops today, they joined because they love their country. You want to give back and you want to protect and defend this wonderful democracy of ours. You don’t join it to get rich. Every paycheck is good in the military, but it’s not exorbitant, and when you miss one or two, and you’ve got rent, a mortgage payment, groceries to buy, and bills to pay, all that stuff adds up quickly. You take those paychecks away, and you’re putting a crimp on these young families who are still struggling, like everybody else.
It’s important for everybody to realize that if there is a shutdown, your military men and women are still going to be out there defending you, ships are still going to be at sea, pilots are still going to be flying airplanes, we’ve got troops all around the world and they’re still going to be there doing what they have to do for our national security. They won’t be getting paid, and it will make a big impact on them and their families’ lives but there could be other longer-term effects on national security that are just as serious.
How does the secretary of defense feel about this moment?
I have known Secretary Austin for a long time and it was a deep honor when he was named to be the secretary of defense. He called and asked me to come back to the government to work for him. As you know, that’s where I started in this administration at the Pentagon as his spokesman. He’s just a phenomenal leader and a good man. Nobody puts the troops and their families more paramount in his mind than Lloyd Austin. He’s deeply troubled by the effect that this is going to have on our men and women and their families, and I’m not just talking about the troops, I’m talking about its civilian employees, too, which are again, stretched all over the world. We are in a tough recruiting environment right now, because the economy is doing well. People don’t seem to understand that in the polls, and there’s a lagging effect here, but President Biden has revitalized this economy and because it’s so strong, it’s giving many young people a different alternative to serve in the military.