MADISON, Wis. (WSAU) - The federal government is at risk of shutting down after Monday unless House Republicans and Senate Democrats can reach a deal. If they don’t, a shutdown could affect several government run agencies, including the military.
What does that mean for Wisconsin’s National Guard? Major Paul Rickert is the Wisconsin National Guard’s Public Affairs Coordinator. He says a substantial part of how citizen soldiers and airmen are paid, trained, and equipped through federal appropriations. He says the Wisconsin Guard units are identifying essential operations now.
Rickert says about 210 federal technicians essential to continuing operations overseas and for protection of lives and property in the states will be exempt from the shutdown. About 1,050 federal technicians will be impacted. Rickert says citizen soldiers attending certain Army schools may also be sent home.
Active Guard and Reserve members and members serving overseas will also be exempt. Exempted Active Guard and Reserve members may be waiting a while to get paid, but will be paid retroactively once Washington funds the government again. The members that are under emergency furlough will not get retroactive pay unless Congress passes a law authorizing that pay.
Rickert says so far, no traditional Guard weekend drill dates have been changed. However, if the shutdown is prolonged traditional members will be informed and drill dates will be postponed. State employees of the Wisconsin Department of Military Affairs will continue to work per their normal schedules. In the event of a state emergency the Guard remains fully available to the Governor for state active duty.