On Oct. 1, the Federal government shutdown due to the failure of Congress to pass a budget for at least five years. The effects have varied but seemingly at random. One religion has been singled out for unusual attention by the Department of Defense as part of its closures. Roman Catholics have been prevented from attending religious services, classes and other religious events on military bases worldwide.
The shutdown of the Federal government due to a fundamental disagreement about the budget is not new. It has occurred 18 times since 1976.
The worst of Hurricane Sandy is expected to hit the coast of New Jersey sometime on Monday, October 29. At its peak, tropical storm force winds may reach from Boston into North Carolina and west to central Pennsylvania. Millions of people are expected to lose power with some predictions suggesting the blackout may last a week or more. In addition, many people living in flood prone areas will have been evacuated and may not have returned home by Election Day.
The National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2013 has been passed by the House and reported out of committee in the Senate. In an October 18 letter, a group of ten public employee unions and public interest groups pushed for the Senate to amend the bill to lower the maximum amount that the Department of Defense can pay for contractor compensation.