Military Families React To Possible Government Shutdown

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Military families in Southern Colorado are reacting to the possibility of a government shutdown, and what that means for local soldiers.

If congressional leaders cannot agree on a budget deal by midnight Friday, the federal government will come to a halt, and that means troops might not get paid.

There are currently 8,500 soldiers from Fort Carson deployed, including Lyndsay Hess' husband. He's currently in Kuwait, finishing up his third deployment.

"I'd rather be prepared for nothing to happen, than be completely lost if this were to happen," said Hess.

She tells 11 News her family relies on her husband's income to pay the bills. If his pay is suspended, they would struggle to pay their rent.

"I've contacted my rental company to let them know that hey, this could happen," said Hess.

According to Defense Secretary Robert Gates, if the government shuts down soldiers would not get paid as normal. Once the government re-opens, they would get back pay, but for many families that live paycheck to paycheck, that's not good enough.

"Cutting their pay should be a last resort. They're over there defending our freedom," said military wife Brittini Campbell.

Campbell's husband is currently serving in Afghanistan. She is re-doing her budget in case the shutdown goes through. She tells 11 News, this is one more thing she has to worry about.

"You don't know from one day to the next if you're gonna get a phone call from them. And now it's like you don't know if you're gonna have a paycheck, if you're gonna be able to go grocery shopping," said Campbell.

KKTV 11 News contacted Fort Carson officials, but they could not comment on the looming shutdown. Officials at the Air Force Academy say if it happens, civilian employees would have to stay home, turn in their work phones and would not have access to their government e-mail accounts.

In case of a shutdown, the Army and Air Force Exchange Service is offering to help military families who need some extra cash. The military credit card firm announced they will work with families in need on a case-by-case basis.