McKeon Floor Statement: Troops Must Be Paid
Washington, D.C. — House Armed Services Committee Chairman Howard P. “Buck” McKeon (R-Calif.) today released the following statement strongly encouraging passage of legislation that would ensure the American military continues to receive pay and benefits in the event of a government shutdown:
“Madam Speaker, I rise in strong support of the bill before us that will fund our troops through the end of the fiscal year, cut an additional $12 billion in federal spending, while preventing a government shutdown.
“Failure to pass this resolution would intentionally harm those who have made great sacrifices in defense of our ideals and our values.
“We simply cannot have our fighting forces on the frontlines in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Libya wondering if their families at home will be provided for. It would be a grave injustice and a gross affront to the civil-military relationship. Their pay cannot, should not, be disrupted. Not for a week, not for a few days, not for a minute. Our men and women in uniform deserve better.
“I don’t even want to contemplate a government shutdown. Because to think we would have our troops on the front linesrisking their lives, with their families at home with bills due and mouths to feed, but they don’t get their pay, I just think that’s really going too far.
“As Secretary Gates said, many of our youngest soldiers, sailors, airmen, and marines live paycheck to paycheck. While wives and husbands are off fighting to keep this nation safe, we cannot have them left wondering what’s happening to their families.
“I think we are mature enough to get this thing fixed.
“If we don’t, failing to properly resource the Defense Department, during the difficult trials of war, could arrest the momentum that has been achieved through the blood and sweat of our troops.
“The military is already overstretched, over-deployed, and overworked. Should this resolution fail, they’ll also be underpaid. We have too much riding on these young men and women to sell them short. Let’s work together to figure this budget out. But let’s also get this military pay issue off the table first.
“I encourage all members to send a clear message to our military men and women by supporting this critical troop funding bill—this Congress believes in you, we support you, and we honor your dedication.”