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Sports Programs For Military Kids Canceled Due To Government Shutdown

Congress is setting a terrible example.

For a little over two days, the U.S federal government was shut down before Congress and President Trump came to a temporary agreement to reopen it on Jan. 22. Should leaders in Congress and the executive branch fail to come to an agreement on immigration reform by Feb. 8, the government will once again be forced to close, disrupting many “nonessential” services.

Among other services that could be affected: almost 700,000 government employees will be put on mandatory unpaid leave and the CDC’s flu surveillance program could be disrupted.

Should the federal government shut down again next month, tens of thousands of military children could also be affected. Over 72,000 American children of military families attend 166 schools run by the Department of Defense Education Activity (DoDEA) stateside and across the globe. In the event of a shutdown, school will remain open for these children, but many extracurricular activities, including sports, could be canceled.

Photo of the Exceptional Family Member Program Sports Day by Sgt. 1st Class Kyle Davis, U.S. Army Africa Public Affairs/Flickr.

The DoDEA explained its policy on its website during the temporary January shutdown:

“Per OSD [Office for the Secretary of Defense] guidance ‘DoDEA sporting events and extracurricular activities are non-excepted; an event or activity may only continue during a lapse in appropriations if the event or activity is fully funded with non-appropriated funds.’ Therefore, in the absence of appropriations, all athletic and extracurricular activities are canceled.”

The reach of the federal government is so large that it’s hard to fully appreciate the full ramifications of a shutdown. Of all the responsibilities placed on elected officials, keeping the government up and running should be top priority. By shutting down the government, members of Congress and the executive branch have set a terrible example for the children of our military. These kids’ parents sacrifice their lives for the country, but they can’t even play soccer because the government can’t agree how to pay its bills.

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