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Tinker Air Force Base officials predict devastating effects if Congress can’t pass a budget

MIDWEST CITY, Okla. – With a deadline looming, those who work at Tinker Air Force Base are waiting for Congress to pass a balance budget.

Back in 2011, Congress passed the Budget Control Act to resolve the debt-ceiling crisis, making for $1 trillion in spending cuts for defense and non-defense security.

"You know, we have been operating under a continued resolution for a number of years. So, this is not anything new to us. We prepare for it, unfortunately,” said Colonel Kenyon Bell, the 72nd Air Base Commander at Tinker.

That means preparing for the worst, which Tinker faced back in 2013 when the government shutdown for 16 days because Congress failed to pass a budget.

Tinker’s civilian population was among those furloughed, which right now is over 18,000.

"When you don't have people coming to work, people want to work. They want to do the business that they're doing, and we got a lot of patriots out there who not just see this as a job, but they see this mission and contributed to the Nation's defense,” Bell said.

Not only that but, without a balanced budget, Tinker’s mission as a whole suffers.

"If the Budget Control Act were to come into play, then the biggest impact that we would end up seeing would be similar to what took place in FY13, when the worst case scenario would be you have some type of furloughing, civilian hiring freeze,” Bell said.

It would also create a negative impact on readiness and modernization of aging weapon systems.

"We're not going to fall down because of uncertainty. We're going to continue to press forward and make sure that we do the best that we can to do our mission to make sure our nation is secure. It just makes it really tough when you don't have a budget for the long term,” Bell said.

Bell said, right now, they’re just hanging onto hope.