White House highlights shutdown threats to pay for 1.3M troops, national security

The White House on Tuesday warned that a shutdown would undermine U.S. national security and force 1.3 million service members to work without getting paid, in its latest effort to call out House Republicans for not funding the government.

“During an Extreme Republican Shutdown, servicemembers would continue working every day to keep our country safe, including our 1.3 million active-duty troops — but wouldn’t receive their paychecks until funding becomes available,” the Biden administration outlined in a memo, noting that under a shutdown, non-essential government workers are put on furlough.

The memo outlined the active duty troops that would be furloughed by location — which includes 171,700 troops working abroad; 163,300 troops in California; 129,400 troops in Virginia; 114,200 troops in Texas; 95,900 troops in North Carolina, and 66,900 troops in Florida.

The White House also noted that hundreds of thousands of civilians working in the Defense Department on issues like global affairs and recruiting members of the military would also be furloughed.

“All of this would prove disruptive to our national security,” it outlined. “The reason these national security priorities are now at risk: extreme House Republicans’ relentless efforts to slash funding for vital programs rather than work in a bipartisan manner to keep the government open and address emergency needs for the American people.”

President Biden has accused Republicans of not abiding by the debt-ceiling agreement he made with Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) in May. Under that deal, lawmakers voted for legislation that set ceilings on spending for the next year. Now conservatives in the House are seeking to make deeper cuts than that deal.

Congress faces a Sept. 30 deadline to pass legislation to fund the government and prevent a shutdown. So far, House Republicans have not agreed to a deal amongst themselves, let along with the Senate and White House.

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