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Drills canceled in El Paso
Sunday, October 6, 2013 - 12:13am
El Paso, TX (KDBC) — A federal law that guarantees pay for military during the government shutdown isn't covering everybody, and it's got hundreds of thousands of service members upset.
More than 800,000 National Guardsmen and Reservists nationwide won't be paid as the government shutdown lingers on.
National Guard and Reserve personnel were supposed to spend this weekend in training, at facilities like one in Far East El Paso.
But instead, they were ordered to stay home, without pay.
"I'm still government, I'm still military, I still thought I would be paid," said Sergeant First Class, Lori Kuczmanski with the U.S. Army Reserve.
"You come in and do your job and all of a sudden, you're put on the backburner," said Captain Terri Mason with the U.S. Army Reserve.
Many have to travel across the country to cities like El Paso for training at their own expense, and won't be reimbursed when training is cancelled because of the shutdown.
President Obama signed a law on Monday guaranteeing that U.S. military personnel would continue to get paid during the shutdown.
But that law only covers active duty service members, meaning U.S. Army Reservists like SFC Kuczmanski and CPT Terri Mason are out of luck.
"We want to be ready and resilient, and what's going on in Washington is not helping us be ready and it's not helping with our resiliency. So it really needs to get resolved and it needs to get resolved as quickly as possible," said Command Sergeant Major Jane Baldwin with the U.S. Army Reserve.
The government shutdown put all National Guard and Reserve training on hold.
Unlike furloughed federal workers, who will now get back pay thanks to the House, who passed a new bill Saturday morning, reservists will not.
"We're actually in a sense furloughed too. What are they going to do about our pay?" said CSM Baldwin.
"It's just the uncertainty of not knowing when the government is going to, kind of, come full circle, bring everything back to normal," said CPT Mason.
"We're here to serve our country, do our job, and be tactically and technically proficient at all times, and this is just setting us back. Yeah it's just one weekend, but what if it's longer?" said SFC Kuczmanski.
Reservists and Guardsmen could make up lost hours in training and receive pay for it when the shutdown ends, but that remains uncertain.