The Quick & Dirty on the Potential Federal Shutdown 2017
Q: When would the Federal Shutdown Happen?
A: The deadline to make a deal is this Friday, April 28th at 11:59pm.
Q: Why is the Shutdown Happening?
A: The extension on the current funding is about to expire. Congress doesn’t even have to sign a new budget bill by the 28th, they just need to at least, extend the current funding known as a Continuing Resolution (CR) while they work out the real deal.
The budget that they are currently negotiating will only last until 30 September 2017 anyways…and then they will get to do this all over again.
Q: The fiscal year starts on 1 October, why is this happening now?
A: The 2017 fiscal year is from 1 October 2016 through 30 September 2017 and it straddles the presidencies of both President Obama and President Trump. On 28 September 2016, Congress passed a CR that extended funding until 9 December 2016. After the results of the 2016 Elections in November, the Trump Administration advocated for an additional CR so that they could still have some sort of influence over the FY17 budget. In December, a second CR was passed extending our funding until this Friday, April 28th.
Q: Can’t we just keep spending?
A: No. There’s this thing called the debt ceiling. You can think of it like the US government’s self-imposed credit card limit. When we hit the debt ceiling, its like when your credit card get declined at The GAP…Congress has to vote on whether or not to increase the limit again. If Congress fails to increase the debt ceiling, the US Government would default on its financial and legal obligations – and that is a whole other ball of wax.
Q: Ok, got It. So, what’s taking Congress so long to make a decision?
A: Lots of things…politics…but just to name a few of the biggies: The US/Mexico Border Wall, repeal of Obamacare, tax reform, and increases in defense spending.
Q: Has a Federal Shutdown ever happened before?
A: Sure, of course it has. The last government shutdown happened in 2013 and lasted for 16 days. (I was actually a federal employee back then and I was put on furlough.) Since 1976 there has been 18 government shutdowns.
Q: Am I gonna get paid? Do I have to go to work?
A: Maybe. It depends.
Military: Military report to work like normal. The next military pay date is 1 May, but usually Congress will approve military pay during federal shutdowns. There is always the potential that servicemembers serve, accrue pay, but are not actually paid until appropriations become available.
Federal Civilians: Excepted employees report to work. They will be paid for their work after Congress passes and the President signs a new appropriation or CR. Employees who are furloughed do not report to work. Congress will determine whether or not they receive pay for their furloughed time.
Military Retirement Annuity: Yes. Federal retirees under CSRS and FERS will still receive their check on the 1st business day of the month. Retiree pay comes from a different source of funds that doesn’t have to be appropriated each year.
Of course, there are other pay concerns such as Social Security, GI Bill Benefits, Disabled Veteran Benefits, etc. If a shutdown was to occur, we would find out more specific information at that time.
Q: How will I pay my bills?
A: If you bank with military friendly financial institutions, there is a chance they will advance your pay.
For the potential 2017 Federal Shutdown, Navy Federal Credit Union is offering assistance to its members if federal pay is interrupted. Registration begins 26 April 2017. First Command also announced that it has a plan to help its customers in the event of a shutdown as well.
UPDATE: As of 26 April 2017, USAA stated that they are prepared to offer a no-interest, 0% Annual Percentage Rate (APR) payroll advance to military personnel with existing direct deposit at USAA. If a disruption in payments seems likely, USAA will email those members and provide information in the “My Offers” section of usaa.com.