WASHINGTON, Dec 7 (KUNA) -- The US Department of Defense has warned a looming government shutdown of possible weapons delays and halt cost civilian and military personnel their paycheck.
The Pentagon is bracing for a possible shutdown over a budget deal impasse between Republicans and Democrats on Capitol Hill over federal spending.
Top leaders from both parties were due to meet at the White House late Thursday to try to avert a shutdown, or agree on a two-week interim funding measure called a "continuing resolution." The current stop-gap measure is set to expire tomorrow.
If that falls through, Pentagon comptroller David Norquist warned salaries of civilian and military troops, including those deployed to Iraq, Syria and elsewhere, will be put on hold, "no one gets paid."
"The civilians who report to duty do not get paid, the military who are in theater do not get paid," he told reporters. "They earn the rights to the payment, but the payment cannot be made until the shutdown is over." The Pentagon says there are currently 5,200 troops deployed in Iraq and roughly 2,000 troops in Syria.
A shutdown would also halt death benefits to relatives of troops killed in the line of duty.
In 2013, a similar spending feud caused 850,000 government officials to be sent home temporarily. The country's national parks closed for two weeks and economic growth fell by an estimated half a percentage point. (end)