Airbase Families Concerned About Government Shutdown

Nearly 6,000 people are based at Fairchild Air Force Base, where the specter of a government shutdown bringing a halt to some essential services is looming on the horizon this weekend.

Whether the airmen are manning the front gate or supporting ongoing operations in Afghanistan or Libya, a government shutdown will impact all of them and their families in one way or another.

Jonathon Whatcott is just one of those people who stands to lose if the government can reach a budget agreement and shuts down. His wife works in an accounting office on base while he stays at home and cares for their four children.

Whatcott says his wife is among the non-essential employees that won?t go to work Monday if a government shutdown happens.

?Pretty anxious time,? he said.

The Department of Defense’s funding expires Friday, and the DoD issued a statement which stated that, ?[I]f the government shuts down the Department of Defense will have no funds to pay military members or civilian employees for the days during which the government shuts down. However … military personnel … required to work … will be paid retroactively once the department receives additional funding.”

?There?s people putting their butts on the line all around the world, even if it?s not on the news, and its important that their families who have a hard time anyway, dads overseas, moms overseas, that they have their something certain, a paycheck,? Whatcott said.

Essential military employees and those deployed overseas would continue working and earning money during a shutdown. The only catch is they won?t get paid until Congress passes a full funding bill.

As for people like Jonathan Whatcott’s wife, it?s unknown if or when they?ll be paid back for missed days of work. Congress would have to approve retroactive pay for those forced to take furlough days. Whatcott has a hard time imagining what the family would cut back on first.

?I don?t know. I don?t want to think about it,? he said.

As for lawmakers back in Washington, Whatcott has some choice words that probably ring true for a lot of military families right now: ?Quit being babies in Washington, DC and think about your neighbors not yourselves.?