Campaign 2010

Sep 16, 2013

Rep. Barr Threatens Government Shutdown That Would Hurt Kentucky Defense Workers, Families

Congressman Andy Barr’s dysfunctional politics are now seriously threatening a total government shutdown – a devastating move that could cause even more unpaid furloughs and lost wages for defense workers and uncertainty for military families who protect our nation and power Kentucky’s economy. Congressman Barr, whose district is home to the Blue Grass Army Depot, signed a letter expressing support for a government shutdown.

“Congressman Andy Barr’s dysfunctional politics are yet again standing in the way of budget solutions and are now threatening a total government shutdown that could cause even more lost wages for Kentucky defense workers and uncertainty for military families,” said David Bergstein of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. “Kentucky families want Congressman Barr to cut spending by ending tax giveaways to millionaires and billionaires – but instead, Congressman Barr’s dysfunctional politics are threatening military families and defense workers with more lost wages and unpaid furloughs. It is past time for Congressman Barr to stop standing in the way of solutions and putting his dysfunctional Washington politics over Kentucky families.” 

Over the past week, multiple outlets are reporting that Congressman Barr’s dysfunctional politics are stopping a solution to passing a budget and averting a shutdown:

  • New York Times: Time Running Out on Plan to Avert Shutdown. [New York Times Editorial, 9/14/13]
  • The Hill: Even “Rank-and-File Republican Members” Worried About Avoiding Shutdown. [The Hill, 9/15/13]
  • Washington Post: 60 Percent Chance Government Will Shut Down. [Washington Post, 8/15/13]
  • CNN: Chances of Government Shutdown “Have Gone Up in the Past Few Weeks.” [CNN, 8/12/13]

BACKGROUND: MILIARY FAMILIES AND DEFENSE WORKERS PAY THE PRICE IN CONGRESSMAN BARR’S SHUTDOWN :

  • Congressman Barr Supported Shutting Down Government Over Obamacare.  In August 2013, Barr signed a letter to Speaker Boehner and Congressman Cantor with other House Republicans that “urged their leader Thursday to trigger a government shutdown rather than fund the implementation of the health care law they call ‘Obamacare.’” [Letter to Boehner and Cantor, 8/21/13; Associated Press, 8/22/13]
  • American Troops Would Not Get Paid. “The 27-year-old mother of four is ‘furious’ that parts of the federal government could shut down tomorrow if Congress cannot agree on a budget. If that happens, paychecks for military workers could be delayed indefinitely. Troops are guaranteed back-pay, but not knowing when they’ll receive a check could put some military families in financial crisis […] All troops and certain civilian workers would not be paid during a shutdown, but would still be required to work because of national security operations. Many military families say they weren’t even aware that this was a possibility.” [CNN, 4/08/11]
  • Veterans Affairs May Not Process New GI Bill Claims, Processing of Current Benefit Claims Could Happen on Reduced Schedule. “The Department of Veterans Affairs will continue to pay benefits to veterans who are already entitled to them, but won’t process any new claims for the GI Bill during a government shutdown […] With the exception of the new GI Bill claims, the VA says processing of claims for benefits with [sic] continue, but probably on a reduced schedule.” [Stars & Stripes, 4/07/11]
  • Some Civilian Defense Workers Would Not Get Paid, And May Not Receive Back Pay. “While troops and civilian workers would not be paid during an extended shutdown, all troops and certain civilians will still have to work, as part of national security operations. The troops are guaranteed back pay if they miss any checks. The civilians’ back pay depends on congressional authorization.”  CBS reported, “And a number of Pentagon civilians, State Department officials and USAID staff would likely be furloughed.” [CNN, 4/05/11; CBS, 4/06/11]
  • In the 1990s, Government Shutdown Cost Taxpayers $1.25 Billion. “The Office of Management and Budget estimated early in 1996 that the first of two government shutdowns- for six days in November 1995- cost taxpayers an estimated $100 million per day. The final price tag for that closing and the record three-week shutdown later that year- including back pay to workers who did not go to work over that time: Over $1.25 billion. Other shutdowns have been costly too. According to the Government Accountability Office, a funding gap of just three days in 1991 rang up a $607 million bill, including $363 million in lost revenue and fees.” [NBC, 2/24/11]
  • Congress Would Continue to Get Paid. “About 800,000 federal workers would be sent home without pay if Congress fails to negotiate a budget deal by Friday night. But whether lawmakers would require themselves to take the same medicine is unclear […] Lawmakers would continue to get paid during a shutdown, unless the full Congress voted otherwise.” [Wall Street Journal, 4/07/11]

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