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Wright-Patt Explains Effects of Shutdown; VA Not Affected
MIAMI VALLEY -- The federal government shutdown has sent civil service employees home from Wright-Patterson Air Force Base and is closing some government agencies, including national parks, but the Veteran Affairs Administration says its services shouldn't be affected.
Col. Cassie Barlow, 88th Air Base Wing Commander at Wright-Patterson AFB, said all furloughed employees received their furlough letters this morning.
She said they also were reminded of all of our helping agencies in the event they need assistance.
"I regret to inform you that on WPAFB this morning we are implementing a government shutdown," Barlow said this morning in a prepared release. "This includes the furlough of approximately 8,700 civil service employees at WP and the loss of $5M a day in salaries in the Miami Valley."
Barlow said there are about 3,200 employees who have functions "essential to national security and public safety who be exempted." Those include, among others, employees in foreign military sales, medical group, fire department, security forces, airfield operations, intelligence, and non-appropriated funded employees.
There will be several services affected on base, including:
Delivery of official mail (mail will need to be picked up by every office)
Network operations and civil engineer maintenance will only respond to emergencies; routine requests will not be processed
The education office will only be open for WAPS testing and tuition assistance
Emergency response for network operations and building maintenance
Closures on base include:
Base commissary will close effective Oct. 2
The FOIA office will be closed; FOIA requests will not be processed
Integrated Learning Center
Community and Airmen Center
Auto Hobby Shop (within the Consolidated Hobby Facility)
The USAF Museum
Civilian personnel office
Barlow said President Barack Obama signed into law Monday night HR 3210, which should allow the Department of Defense to pay its military personnel.
"We want to thank our civilian employees for their continued service and strength in the face of adversity," Barlow said. "We stand firm in stating that this government shutdown is not a reflection on the service of our employees and the value we place on their work."
Not affected by the government shutdown, apparently, is the Veterans Administration, which released a statement saying officials there believe a lapse in appropriations should not occur.
VA medical centers, clinics and other health services have advance appropriations for 2014 and will remain open throughout a short-term shutdown.
READ: VA Field Guide to Federal Shutdown
"VA has funds available to ensure claims processing and payments in the compensation, pension, education, and vocational rehabilitation programs will continue through late October," the statement reads. "However, in the event of a prolonged shutdown, claims processing and payments in these programs will be suspended when funds are exhausted. Due to the shutdown, Veterans benefits Administration will not be able to continue overtime for claims processors."
Regarding the National Cemetery Administration, the statement reads, interments will continue, but might be on a reduced schedule.
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