Federal Government Shutdown Looms
Will the government shut down in 2024?
The federal government is already 1/4th of the way through the current fiscal year? FY2024 has not seen the passage of a federal budget to keep the government from shutting down when the current stopgap funding (via a continuing resolution or CR) expires.
The current stopgap spending measure the government is currently funded by is scheduled to expire in a two-stage process featuring a January deadline before funding for the VA and military construction projects runs out.
A second deadline, February 2, 2024, will bring the shutdown to the rest of the federal government unless one of two things happens.
Two Options In 2024 To Avoid Government Shutdown
One is that the House and Senate agree upon a federal budget and pass it quickly. The other is that the House and Senate agree to yet another continuing resolution without funding the government for the remainder of Fiscal Year 2024.
The first option should have happened already. The second option? Some describe it as a failure of leadership. Whatever the reality, it is complicated by the holiday break lawmakers took without fixing the problem; that holiday break wasn’t scheduled to end until the week of January 8, 2024. A government shutdown feels inevitable at this stage. What’s the reality?
The current schedule seems to give lawmakers precious little time to agree upon the most basic provisions of the budget, let alone irrelevant culture war issues like whether there should be drag queen performances on military bases or not.
Related: Active Duty Military Benefits
Some lawmakers on both sides of the House and Senate want to deal with the immediate threats of two major conflicts happening on the global stage at the same time rather than focusing on distractions.
What will these politicians have to deal with between now and the final February 2, 2024 deadline before the government shuts down?
Potential Effects of a Federal Government Shutdown in 2024
- Over a million service members may work without pay.
- Approximately 200 thousand civilian employees could work without pay.
- 2 million federal employees could be furloughed or asked to work without pay.
- 7 million could temporarily lose food assistance program payments.
- Head Start and other services for food and education may be suspended.
- National Parks may close.
- Healthcare research could be delayed.
- Military Commissaries stateside remain open for 60 days into the new fiscal year without further funding.
Full-Year CR Fallout
What happens if the House and Senate resort to a full-year CR? It may already be on the bargaining table in a serious way.
Military.com reports, “House Speaker Mike Johnson, R-La., has vowed not to pass any more short-term spending patches after the Feb. 2 deadline, raising the prospect of a full-year continuing resolution, or CR, if a deal on regular spending bills isn’t reached.”
But a full-year stopgap measure, the CR, could, in the words of Military.com, “…cripple efforts to improve service members’ quality of life, including plans to fix and replace barracks that have made headlines in recent months for their disgusting conditions.”
It would also stop improvements to military family quality of life issues, delay fixing family housing, and more.
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Delays, Delays, Delays
Such fixes (as they are currently approved) won’t even happen until FY 2025 as currently planned. Complicating those efforts via a full-year CR potentially delays those projects even further.
With the DoD facing a major recruiting problem, telling current and future troops to “suck it up and deal with it” in their moldy barracks doesn’t sound like a good PR move.
Add to this the fact that the United States Secretary of Defense, who arguably has far more experience in matters related to readiness than Senator Mike Johnson does, is completely opposed to a full-year continuing resolution.
Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin says it would have a dire effect on military readiness. Who are we meant to trust on this issue? The person with direct experience? Or the lawmaker without it?
Whatever side of the issue you choose, the reality is that at press time there is no federal budget, there are two wars happening on the global stage at the same time, and the United States and its allies are stuck in the middle. Being there without a budget for the federal government is a precarious position at best.
Related: Active Duty Military Benefits
About the author
Editor-in-Chief Joe Wallace is a 13-year veteran of the United States Air Force and a former reporter/editor for Air Force Television News and the Pentagon Channel. His freelance work includes contract work for Motorola, VALoans.com, and Credit Karma. He is co-founder of Dim Art House in Springfield, Illinois, and spends his non-writing time as an abstract painter, independent publisher, and occasional filmmaker.