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Colorado Springs-area bases ready for shutdown as budget deadline looms

February 8, 2018 Updated: February 8, 2018 at 5:33 pm
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Cadets are given instructions on their marching for the inaugural parade at the Air Force Academy on Thursday, January 12, 2017. Photo by Stacie Scott, The Gazette

​Military bases around the Pikes Peak region again began preparing for a possible government shutdown ahead of a Thursday night budget vote in Congress.

A shutdown would idle 6,000 Defense Department civilian workers in Colorado Springs, shutter military grocery stores and close other services on bases.

In the shutdown planning, the local bases determined which civilians would report to work Friday if budget negotiations deadlocked. Employees deemed essential would work without pay through a shutdown.

At the Air Force Academy, shutdown planning began Tuesday.

"Air Force Academy leadership are following Department of Defense guidelines to prepare for the possibility of a government shutdown beginning on Thursday night," the school said in an email.

The region's 40,000 active-duty troops would remain on the job through a shutdown, but could miss their Feb. 15 paychecks in a prolonged standoff.

The shutdown could also close national parks and other federal offices. Postal services and entitlement checks would keep coming.

Locally, the looming shutdown is becoming a familiar drill.

Budget wrangling led to a three-day government shutdown that began Jan. 20.

The impasse happened on a Friday and was resolved over a weekend, leading to few disruptions.

That led to another short-term deal that funded the government through Thursday.

It appeared Thursday morning that lawmakers were ready to pass a two-year budget agreement, growing federal spending on defense and domestic programs and delivering long-sought stability.

That deal, though, appeared to face trouble with hours to go, with top House Democratic Rep. Nancy Pelosi encouraging her caucus to oppose the deal, joining rebel Republicans who are against the increased spending in the two-year plan.

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