WASHINGTON -- A top Pentagon official on Monday decried the impending government shutdown, saying it was "stupid" and disrespected both members of the military and civilians in public service.
"The administration firmly believes that a shutdown can be avoided, should be avoided," said Deputy Defense Secretary Ashton Carter at an event at the Center for American Progress on Monday morning. "And while we in the Department of Defense are fully prepared to deal with a shutdown if it occurs, it will be extremely disruptive and unfortunate, especially for our men and women who are defending this country, who now have to worry about receiving their paychecks on time."
"In addition, about half of our valued and dedicated civilian personnel, who have already been furloughed for more than a week this year, will be placed on no-duty, no-pay furloughs," he added. "This is no way to treat patriots working in our department, and will cause serious harm to productivity and morale."
Half of the civilians who work in the Department of Defense are expected to be furloughed, according to Office of Management and Budget data. While furloughed workers have received back pay after other shutdowns, there is no guarantee that Congress will authorize it this time. In fact, many civil servants are anticipating that they won't receive any back pay.
"A shutdown will be disruptive and harmful to the national security mission," said Carter. "We strongly urge the Congress to pass a budget and avoid a disruptive and stupid shutdown of the federal government."
Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel sent a message to Pentagon personnel on Monday saying he will be "deeply disappointed if Congress fails to fulfill its most basic responsibilities."
The government shutdowns of 1995 and 1996 were incredibly costly to the country. Adjusted for inflation, they cost the United States more than $2 billion.
Congress has until midnight on Monday to agree on a continuing resolution to fund the government.