No paychecks a possibility for military families

Soldiers
April 6, 2011 2:54:35 PM PDT
Fort Bragg families are worried about getting paid, and it's especially a tough situation for spouses with soldiers deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Defending freedom can be a thankless job and Friday, if the federal government shuts down, it could be a payless job as well.

Leanna Sveen is a young soldier's wife. The couple has two small children and bills that make them live paycheck to paycheck.

"A house bill, we have two cars, got two kids, two dogs, a cat, food," Sveen said. "I mean, everything -- phone bills, electric, everything."

If the government shuts down, it won't be the first time. In December 1995, the government shut down for 21 days just before Christmas.

Lindsey Knapp is a former soldier. Now, she's a federal government employee. She remembers all too well what happened to government workers who were furloughed back then.

"Doctors and nurses at the VA Medical Center were sent home, or rather, they were forced to work without pay," Knapp said. "The three week span over Christmas these employees received no pay over that time. The hospital actually started selling diapers and other essential items so people could get by."

The hope is no one has to start selling pampers to get by, but there is a good possibility that Monday thousands of government employees, including soldier will be without paychecks.

"If I don't get to come to work on Monday, I don't know how I'm going to pay my bills," Knapp said. "And are they going to pay my bills for me? Or are they going to pay my late fees on all my bills, if they pay retroactively? But I guess they just want me to tell my 3-year-old daughter in the mean time that she can't eat. That she have to eat retroactively when I get paid again."

Pentagon Press Secretary Geoff Morrell told Stars and Stripes Tuesday the possibility of a government shutdown is very, very real. But he added, if that happens, the troops fighting wars would continue to fight and they would be paid.

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