Active-duty military would work without pay in shutdown, White House warns

About 21,100 service members are stationed in Oklahoma

By: - September 26, 2023 4:21 pm

Airmen participate in an airfield establishment exercise at Hurlburt Field, Fla., Sept. 21, 2023. Members of the 21st Special Tactics Squadron jumped from an MC-130J during the 94th Joint Civilian Orientation Conference. (U.S. Department of Defense photo)

An estimated 21,100 active-duty troops stationed in Oklahoma could have their pay withheld if Congress fails to reach a budget agreement, according to an analysis released by the White House.

Oklahoma’s share of active-duty service members ranks in the Top 15 nationally. 

Rep. Josh West, R-Grove, said it would be a “terrible thing” if military personnel went unpaid due to a government shutdown, but said he believes Congress will reach a last-minute budget deal. 

“The bottom line is the military’s going to get paid. They’re not going to shut the government down,” said West, a U.S. Army combat veteran who leads the state House Committee on Veteran and Military Affairs. 

He said nonpayment would be demoralizing to the country’s troops. 

“This is a game that both sides play, but at the end of the day, they’re going to keep government open, especially that part of government,” he said. 

Reporting by Janelle Stecklein

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Ashley Murray
Ashley Murray

Ashley Murray covers the nation’s capital as a senior reporter for States Newsroom. Her coverage areas include domestic policy and appropriations.