Both the Republicans and the Democrats have failed the troops on this one.
As “nonessential” government activities shut down due to the Republican-controlled Congress’s failure to come up with a budget, so does the American Forces Network, which provides TV and radio programming to U.S. military personnel around the world. When the shutdown took effect at midnight Friday night, all AFN programs faded to black.
As any NFL fan can imagine, this is a particularly inconvenient time for the American Forces programming to be interrupted, because both the NFC and AFC championship games happen this Sunday. That’s especially bad news for Eagles, Vikings and Jaguars fans, since those teams share a total of 4 trips to the Super Bowl between them and appearances in a championship game for all three teams have been rare. It’s hard to feel the same sympathy for Patriots fans, but this could be their last Super Bowl run with old man Tom Brady.
With their broadcasts offline, it’ll be a lot trickier for any overseas troops or their families to watch the games.
The government shutdown was triggered late Friday when a spending bill passed by the House faltered in the Senate, mainly because it had some major flaws. Most notably, the House bill didn’t address DACA, only extended the Children’s Health Insurance Program for six years, and only kept the government open until Feb. 16.
Benefits like emergency medical care and schooling will remain available for those living on military bases, but services deemed nonessential—like extracurricular activities and general doctor’s appointments—will cease. Democrats introduced a bill to guarantee military pay during the shutdown, but that did not pass.