AEDC facing cuts to meet sequester

Arnold Engineering Development Complex (AEDC) employees and operations will not be directly affected by the government shutdown, according to Jason Austin, director of public affairs for the complex.

The John S. McCain National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2019 was signed by President Donald Trump in August, fully funding the Department of Defense, said Austin.

NDAA is a federal law which specifies the budget, expenditures and policies of the Department of Defense for fiscal year 2019. Trump signed the $717 billion bill on August 13, 2018.

“Additionally, the Defense Appropriation Bill actually funded the Department of Defense accounts for Fiscal Year 2019 and was signed by President Trump on Sept. 28, 2018,” Austin said.

In previous years, government shutdowns have affected AEDC; and with no budget security, employees have had to take furloughs. However, with the NDAA in place, AEDC will not be affected by this one, according to Austin.

“To my knowledge, the current fiscal impasse does not affect the Department of Defense in any way,” Austin said.

 

The shutdown continues

The shutdown will likely enter a second week and stretch toward the new year.

Lawmakers are away from Washington for the holidays and have been told they will get 24 hours’ notice before having to return for a vote.

Trump has promised to keep demanding the money for building a border wall.

He tweeted on Thursday that “we desperately need” a wall on the Mexico border.

The White House and Congress have disagreed on the way the project would be funded ever since Trump took office.

After a weekend and two holiday days for federal employees, Wednesday was the first regularly scheduled workday affected by the closure of a variety of federal services.

The shutdown started last Saturday when funding was exhausted for nine Cabinet-level departments and dozens of agencies.

Roughly 420,000 workers were deemed essential and are working unpaid, while an additional 380,000 have been furloughed.

While the White House was talking to congressional Democrats, negotiations dragged Wednesday, dimming hopes for agreement.

Republican Rep. Mark Meadows of North Carolina, a Trump ally who has been involved in the talks, said the president “is very firm in his resolve that we need to secure our border.” He added, “If they believe that this president is going to yield on this particular issue, they’re misreading him.”

The impasse over government funding began last week, when the Senate approved a bipartisan deal keeping government open into February. That bill provided $1.3 billion for border security projects but not money for the wall.

At Trump’s urging, the House approved that package and inserted the $5.7 billion he had requested.

But Senate Republicans didn’t have the votes they needed to force the measure through their Senate. That started negotiations between Congress and the White House, but they didn’t reach a deal before the deadline.

 

Who’s affected?

Among those affected by the shutdown are the departments of Homeland Security, Transportation, Interior, Agriculture, State and Justice.

Those being furloughed include 52,000 workers at the Internal Revenue Service and nearly everyone at NASA.

About 8 in 10 employees of the National Park Service are staying home, and many parks have closed.

Elena Cawley can be reached via email at ecawley@tullahomanews.com.

Recommended for you