IA National Guard Workers Face Unknowns For Government Shutdown - News and Weather For The Quad Cities -

IA National Guard Workers Face Unknowns For Government Shutdown

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     On Monday, members of the National Guard in both Illinois and Iowa braced for major cuts in the event of a government shutdown. Iowa National Guard officials said Monday that roughly half of the 2,200 full-time workers would be furloughed. For families with bills to pay, some with only one income, it could be devastating.
      The Chinooks at the Iowa National Guard facility in Mt. Joy sat idle for the night Monday evening. The people who operate them were unsure of what would happen as the clock ticked away.
      "It could be the last time we close these helicopters up for a while," said Sgt. Jason Nemeth, "Right now we have no guidance on how long, if this furlough were to happen, how long it could happen."
      Sgt. Nemeth is a full-time National Guard worker. What he does as a helicopter mechanic and flight engineer provides the sole income for his wife and two year old twins. His biggest concern Monday was being able to provide for them.
     "Not knowing what kind of paycheck if I have a paycheck to bring home," he said.
     The anticipation of a government shutdown adds to a lot on his plate already. Being new to the area he's still trying to bring his family here from halfway across the state. "Tomorrow closing on the house in Perry and in the Quad Cities here we're relying on two Government funds to come through," said Nemeth.
     He is one of about 45 full-time Iowa Guard employees at the Mt. Joy facility that would be furloughed in a government shutdown. Beyond those who depend on the work it could also affect soldier readiness. Weekend drills for thousands of soldiers would stop  in one of the busiest months for training. 
     "We have one weekend a month to train them and prepare them and make sure they're adequately prepared for anything," added Nemeth. Being ready for anything has new meaning for Sgt.. Nemeth and others right now.
      The shutdown would also affect civilian workers, contract workers, and suppliers to the Iowa National Guard.