State agencies relying on federal funds for programs and services can cover costs for a little while longer, officials said Tuesday.
Those agencies face several problems if Congress can't find a way to re-open the government by the end of the month.
"This is crazy. We have got to fix this," said Maj. Gen. James Hoyer, head of the West Virginia National Guard.
Last week, Republicans in the U.S. House refused to pass a measure to continue to fund the government unless it addressed concerns with the Affordable Care Act, also known as "Obamacare." The Senate and President Barack Obama said they would not approve such a measure, and on Oct. 1 the federal government shut down.
Initially more than 800,000 federal employees were told to go home, including 1,150 members of West Virginia National Guard. After work by national lawmakers, including members of the West Virginia delegation, the Department of Defense interpreted a last-minute spending measure so that most of its employees could return to work Monday.
That includes almost all of the West Virginia National Guard members sent home last week, Hoyer said Tuesday. He thanked the delegation, in particular Rep. Nick Rahall and Sen. Joe Manchin, both D-W.Va., for their help.
There are still about 75 employees left in the lurch, and plenty of other services hurt by the sudden stop in federal funds, Hoyer said. There aren't enough funds to cover some services, training and maintenance already interrupted by the shutdown, degrading the guard's readiness, he said.
The Guard can't pick up a new helicopter it was supposed to receive Oct. 1, and as such can't train its pilots on it. It can't properly maintain its helicopters or other vehicles for much longer because it has a limited supply of replacement parts and can't afford to get the mechanics to the right locations.
Like many other federally funded entities in the state, the Guard is covering the costs of some of its projects with state money. That means shifting funds away from some projects to pay for services, people or programs for which it is typically reimbursed by the federal government, Hoyer said.
The Guard deferred work on four projects to help extend the time it can cover federally funded costs. That includes almost 400 employees paid on a reimbursement basis, he said.
Hoyer said it can cover costs typically reimbursed federally until noon on Oct. 16 - hours before experts believe the federal government will hit the "debt-ceiling," or the amount the federal government can legally borrow.
If there's a disaster tomorrow, the National Guard will find a way to respond. But Hoyer said it might take a little longer or limit resources typically available.