Legislators continue scrambling to prevent a government shutdown come April 8th. With prospects looking bleak, however, some are working on contingency plans to soften the blow.
Among the biggest concerns is that America’s men and women in uniform will not receive their paychecks in a timely manner. Texas Republican Rep. Louie Gohmert and Georgia Republican Rep. Jack Kingston on the House side and Texas Republican Kay Bailey Hutchison in the Senate have introduced companion legislation to ensure that members of the military receive pay on schedule.
The Ensuring Pay for Our Military Act will continue pay for members of the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard in the event a funding gap does occur.
“I am not willing to place the well-being of our military personnel and their families in the balance as we await a budget agreement,” said Hutchison. “Our troops are serving our country, and our country must continue to serve them. This legislation would ensure the military gets paid on time, even if Congress cannot pass a budget before the April 8 deadline.”
Congressmen do not want those serving to be concerned about what is going on at home.
“We need to not have our troops distracted by what is going on at home,” said Republican co-sponsor Rep. Doug Lamborn who has been sending updates to service members in his district. “They are concerned about their families paying the rent, keeping the car payments going, food on the table. They do not need to be worried about that when they are fighting for their lives and country.”
Monday, Pentagon spokesman Geoff Morrell said the prospect of soldiers not receiving pay on time is a big concern.
“I am answering you truthfully when I tell you, as I always do, when I tell you that we have not been able yet to arrive at a conclusive determination about how everyone’s pay would be impacted by this,” Morrell said. “We are still working through that.”
Currently there are 90,000 troops deployed in Afghanistan and over 45,000 in Iraq.
“The men and women of the United States military are among the most heroic of Americans,” said Gohmert. “These true patriots place their lives on the line to protect this country and ensure security for our future. If Congress cannot pass a budget, it’s not right for these valiant warriors and their families to suffer through a late paycheck. This is about paying those who protect us and defend our freedom.”