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Lawmakers look to avoid shutdown
Rep. Jack Kingston pushes for legislation to pay military
web 0408 Kingston Abrams
Incoming 3rd Infantry Division Commander Brig. Gen. Robert Abrams recently paid a visit to Rep. Jack Kingstons, R-Ga., Washington, D.C., office to discuss his vision for the 3rd ID and Fort Stewart. Abrams will replace Maj. Gen. Tony Cucolo, whose next assignment has not yet been announced. Kingston pushed legislation Thursday that would help to ensure military service members continue to get paid in the event budget issues spur a government shutdown. - photo by Photo provided.

What it would mean

How a shutdown would affect Americans:
• Social Security payments would continue.
• Mail deliveries as usual.
• National parks around the country would be gated.
• The IRS would not process paper returns, but the filing deadline would remain April 18.
• Air traffic controllers will stay on the job.
• Pay for U.S. troops would be delayed, and some civilian DOD employees would be furloughed.

Source: The Associated Press

On Thursday, U.S. Rep. Jack Kingston, R-Ga., pushed for legislation that would ensure military service members are paid in the event of a government shutdown.
Kingston’s office reiterated the congressman is “working around the clock” pushing for the legislation and has enlisted a co-sponsor in the Senate, Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchinson of Texas.
“Representing more than 80,000 troops, I have seen the sacrifice they and their families make every day in the defense of our country,” Kingston said. “They should not suffer for Washington’s failure to act nor should they be subject to the whims of political games. I hope the Senate and the president will put aside their differences and join us in supporting this important measure.”
The bill passed the House by a vote of 247-181, largely along party lines. It represents the third attempt by House Republicans to avoid a government shutdown and provide funding for troops. So far, the Senate has yet to pass a bill.
In a phone interview with the Courier on Thursday afternoon, Crawford said the president likely would veto the measure.
As for how Fort Stewart/Hunter Army Airfield specifically would be impacted by a shutdown, Fort Stewart public affairs forwarded a statement put out by the Defense Department.
“Operations and activities that are essential to safety, protection of human life, and protection of our national security, are ‘excepted’ from shutting down,” Deputy Secretary of Defense William J. Lynn III said in a news release.  “The DOD will continue to conduct activities in support of our national security, including operations in Iraq, Afghanistan and Japan; Libya-related support operations; and other operations and activities essential to the security of our nation. The department must also continue to provide for the safety of human life and protection of property.”
Lynn said DOD medical facilities and non-appropriated fund services, such as child care, mess halls, legal assistance for deployed DOD personnel, training, DOD schools and financial-management activities, also would be exempt from a shutdown.
“Military personnel are not subject to furlough and will report for duty as normal during the shutdown,” he said. “Reserve component personnel should refer to the DOD contingency guidance document and to their chain of command for more specific information. Civilian personnel deemed to be performing excepted activities will continue to work during the period of a shutdown.” 
If a shutdown begins Saturday, all DOD personnel still should report to work on their next scheduled duty day, Lynn said.
As for government contractors, they may continue working and “will be paid out of the obligated funds, subject to further direction from the contracting officer,” the defense secretary said. “Contract personnel should also report to work on Monday, April 11, to be briefed on their status.”
Late last month, Kingston and U.S. Rep. Louie Gohmert, R-Texas, introduced the Ensuring Pay for Our Military Act of 2011 to authorize the secretary of defense to continue to provide military pay and allowances without interruption. 
Kingston said when the government last shut down in 1995, soldiers were paid because the Defense Department already had been funded through the year.

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