Courtesy of our guest blogger, Joyce W Raezer

We’ve already taken one hit – sequestration – but what’s looming around the corner could cause an even greater upset. The next shoe to drop is a potential government shutdown at the end of March—unless Congress and the President agree on how to keep funds flowing when the Continuing Resolution expires on March 27.

How things are supposed to work is that last year, Congress was supposed to pass a budget for Fiscal Year 2013. Then, by September 30, 2012, they were supposed to pass 13 appropriations bills for the various government agencies, including one for the Department of Defense (DoD) and one that funds Military Construction and the Department of Veterans Affairs. Well, that didn’t happen, so they passed something called a Continuing Resolution, which provided six-months of funds at 2012 levels. So, even though our military’s needs are different this year, DoD is locked into last year’s funding levels, which resulted in cuts in some programs and operations even before sequestration kicked in on March 1.

Without an agreement to extend the Continuing Resolution (CR) by March 27, the government will shut down. If Congress only agrees to continue the funding levels in the current CR and does not give DoD to move funds where they’re most needed, the effects of sequestration will be more severe for military readiness and for military families.

Military families who’ve served and sacrificed protecting our Nation during more than a decade of war now doubt our Nation’s leaders’ commitment to supporting that service. Each day military families live in fear of uncertainty, worried about their service members’ safety and about their wellbeing as a family recovering from frequent deployments and war. And despite the cry for answers, they just encounter more uncertainty. We know from previous government shutdown scares, that military families want assurances the support for their service member at war will not be threatened. Service members far from home want assurances their family will be cared for.

We’re encouraged by word from Congress that it will prevent a government shutdown. The House of Representatives has already passed a bill (H.R. 933) to keep the government funded and to give DoD more flexibility to meet its needs. The Senate is working on a funding bill as well. While we’re dismayed these efforts don’t stop the sequestration cuts, we hope they could help soften the blow. Military families have been bombarded by warnings of how they will be affected by sequestration and don’t even more uncertainty. We ask Congress to work together and allow DoD to do what it must to strengthen our both our military readiness and our military families. Do it soon. Don’t let the uncertainty of a government shutdown add worry to our military families who shoulder a great burden on behalf of our Nation.

For the latest updates regarding the effects of sequestration and a potential government shutdown, see more at:


Joyce Wessel Raezer

Executive Director

National Military Family Association

Joyce became the Executive Director of the National Military Family Association in 2007 after serving at various staff positions in the Government Relations Department since 1995. She guides the management of the Association’s programs and initiatives that serve the families of the seven Uniformed Services and that promote improvements in their quality of life. Joyce has represented military families on several committees and task forces for offices and agencies of the Department of Defense (DoD) and military Services. She served on the first national Board of Directors for the Military Child Education Coalition. In 2004, she authored a chapter on “Transforming Support to Military Families and Communities” in a book published by the MIT Press, Filling the Ranks: Transforming the U.S. Military Personnel System. A Maryland native, Joyce earned a B.A. in History from Gettysburg College, and a M.A. in History from the University of Virginia. An Army spouse and mother of two children, she has lived in the Washington, D.C. area (4 tours), Virginia, Kentucky, and California. She is a former teacher and served on the Fort Knox Community Schools Board of Education from 1993 to 1995.