A Marine in Fort Worth, a Marine from Texas abroad in Japan and one Tarleton ROTC instructor also with the U.S. Army discussed their experiences that occurred due to the government shutdown.
Texan News spoke with these men to get insight on how the military might be affected by the shutdown. Sergeant of the U.S. Marine Corps, Elijah X Shaw, is currently on Camp Schwab, a military base in Japan. Lance Colonel, Noah Haymes, of the U.S. Marine Corps is at the Naval Air Station Joint Reserve Base in Fort Worth. Lieutenant Colonel Marty Deckard is serving with the U.S. Army and is also an ROTC instructor at Tarleton.
As for the cause of the shutdown, according to an article in independent.co.uk, “Republicans in Congress passed stop-gap funding legislation on Thursday but their colleagues in the Senate needed support from 10 Democrats to pass it there. Five voted in favor, but five Republicans opposed the measure and it failed to pass. The central dispute came over protections for undocumented migrants who were brought to the U.S. as children. Democrats wanted to force through protections from deportation for 700,000 “dreamers” who had previously been covered by the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals or DACA program.”
The federal government reopened for business Tuesday after President Trump signed a bill funding the government until Feb. 8.
“I am instructing a course where we checked out a classroom at the library because we have 31 Marines attending,” Shaw said. “Well, the government shutdown caused the civilians that get paid by the government not to come to work. So, that alone closed the library down. So, now we’re having to conduct classes in a crowded room without enough seating for the Marines. Thankfully, the Navy Federal Credit Union and USAA helps military personnel.”
Haymes said the only thing that happened to him was that he didn’t have to go to base. “They stopped paying everyone so we were told not to come since there is no money.”
“ROTC was not affected, and I was not affected personally,” Deckard said. “The long-term bill probably will (affect us), but the Army has systems in place to help us out. The other term back in 2013…. We’re fortunate enough that we bank with military financial institutions – USAA, Navy Federal Credit Union. What they do is provide us those funds if we don’t get paid. That’s what would have happened this time if it would have last more than three days. Those banks pay out of pocket – it’s kind of a loan, but we don’t have to sign paper work. They give us the money up front and if we do get paid, they take it out the next paycheck.”
Regarding his thoughts on the spending bill, Deckard preferred not to discuss those matters.
“That’s higher levels than us, but I do understand that we’re funded through the appropriations sometimes,” Lieutenant Colonel Deckard said. “We continue to operate with the funding that Congress gives us. So, whatever is available, we are going to continue to make our mission. We’re not going to let the budget and spending stop us from what we have to do – whether it’s deployments and fighting overseas or teaching college classes at Tarleton.”
Deckard believes what affects them the most is the civilian workers.
“They are employed through the Federal Credit Union. They were furloughed – pretty much sent home on a non-paid, non-duty status. So, they’re not working and therefore they’re not getting paid for that. What they’ve done the last two shutdowns was like in 2013, it was a paid two-week vacation. We just got a notice this time they would get paid for Monday. Civilian workers came in and worked a transition period to give all their responsibilities to the active duty soldiers that were exempted from the furlough. So, our employees came in, did the transition period, went home in accordance with the orders and they returned to work once the president signed the spending bill. We’re here regardless of the spending bill and how we’re funded – we’re here to defend and support the constitution. Regardless if we’re getting paid or not, we’re still going to do that.”