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Government-Employed Vets Are Getting Payless Paychecks As The Shutdown Drags On
Toby Hauck, an Air Force veteran and air traffic controller in Chicago, said he received a paycheck from the government Thursday — minus the money.
"We're getting to see pay stubs with nothing but zeros on them," said Hauck, one of several hundred air traffic controllers in the Chicago area working without pay during the partial shutdown, now in its 20th day, that has affected nine federal departments and several smaller agencies.
Hauck, one of thousands of veterans feeling the shutdown's impact, said the Leave and Earnings Statement sent to his bank had "all zeros" under the heading "Net Pay."
"It's a tough time out here right now, a lot of uncertainty on what to do next," he said of the back-and-forth between Congress and the White House on resolving the impasse, which centers on the $5.7 billion President Donald Trump has demanded for the southern border wall.
Ed Canales, a 100 percent-disabled veteran and Bureau of Prisons worker in California, said, "It's getting to crunch time" for the estimated 800,000 federal workers who have either been furloughed or are working without pay.
Canales, a former Army specialist and Desert Storm veteran, said, "We've got a lot of young kids coming back from Iraq and Syria" who now have federal jobs. "They have low pay as it is, and now they're being denied a check."
"You can get into a deep depression" over the situation, he added.
"God forbid, I start getting the phone calls I dread," said Canales, a union representative who echoed the fears of other federal union officials that veterans under financial stress would harm themselves.
"Right now, our veterans are standing on a cliff," said Will Attig, a former Army sergeant and Iraq veteran.
"One of the leading causes of veterans suicide is financial insecurity," said Attig, executive director of the Union Veterans Council of the AFL-CIO.
About 31 percent of the federal workforce is made up of veterans, and the federal government is the nation's largest employer of disabled veterans, he said. "It's a shame that they're being allowed to be used as pawns in a political game."
Younger veterans just off active duty "are working paycheck to paycheck" in federal jobs, Attig said. "Some average about $500 a week, but they have good benefits and a stable job. Then this happens. They didn't realize they'd be fighting another battle when they came home."
A move in Congress Thursday to end the stalemate shutdown failed, and Trump visited the Texas-Mexico border region the same day to underscore his case that the U.S. faces an immigration crisis that a border wall could alleviate.
The president has said he would consider declaring a national emergency, which would allow him to use funds allocated by Congress to the Defense Department for the border wall. But in his address to the nation Tuesday night, he stopped short of declaring such an emergency.
In Congress, the Senate mulled House proposals to reopen parts of the government while pushing consideration of border wall funding to a later date, but Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, blocked a vote.
"Political stunts are not going to get us anywhere," McConnell said on the Senate floor. He added that he would not allow a vote on any legislation that Trump will not sign.
This article originally appeared on Military.com
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WATCH NEXT: Who Gets Paid During A Government Shutdown
The former Secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs thinks that the VA needs to start researching medical marijuana. Not in a bit. Not soon. Right goddamn now.
US and Turkey agree on temporary cease fire to allow Kurdish fighters to withdraw from northeast Syria
The United States and Turkey have agreed to a temporary cease fire to allow Kurdish fighters to withdraw from a safe zone that Turkey is establishing along its border with Syria, Vice President Mike Pence announced on Thursday.
They started the US war against ISIS. Now they have an important message for Trump on abandoning the Kurds
Editor's Note: The following is an op-ed. The opinions expressed are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Task & Purpose.
Trump's recent decisions in northern Syria were ill-advised, strategically unsound, and morally shameful. In rapidly withdrawing U.S. presence and allowing a Turk offensive into Syria, we have left the Syrian Kurds behind, created a power vacuum for our adversaries to fill, and set the stage for the resurgence of ISIS.
After preliminary fitness test scores leaked in September, many have voiced concerns about how women would fare in the new Army Combat Fitness Test.
The scores — which accounted for 11 of the 63 battalions that the ACFT was tested on last year — showed an overall failure rate of 84% for women, and a 70% pass rate for men.
But Army leaders aren't concerned about this in the slightest.
More than 74 years after Marines raised the American flag on Mount Suribachi, Iwo Jima, the Marine Corps has announced that one of men in the most famous picture of World War II had been misidentified.