Support our troops, and allow them to support themselves: With a paycheck.
Mother Jones has an article (excerpted below) about the politics being played with service members’ paychecks. The not-being-brought-to-the-House-floor GOP-written bill, HR 1297, is here. (Don’t worry—it’s the shortest bill I’ve ever seen.)
The very same GOP congressmen crying “save the troops” are the ones who’ve been playing politics with the livelihoods of our (largely underpaid) serving men and women: For more than a week, they’ve had a bill, proposed by one of their own, that would keep soldiers’ paychecks flowing in a shutdown. And they’ve sat on it.
HR 1297, the Ensuring Pay for Our Military Act, was introduced back on March 31 by Louie Gohmert (R-Texas), with whom we’ve had our fun in the past. “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,” Gohmert said in a much-ballyhooed rollout for the bill, which was covered by Fox News. Cosponsoring the bill are 106 members of Congress, mostly conservative Republicans, and it has no amendments, no riders, no pork: It simply mandates that troop pay continue as it normally would, through the end of the year, even if the federal government faces a funding gap and shutdown.
Wow. A bill that is only what is says it is. I haven’t seen any legislation that concise since School House Rock!
Yet it hasn’t been brought to the House floor for a vote. Gohmert hasn’t mentioned his own bill publicly since April Fool’s Day.
A GOP-led Congress ought to be able to pass a stripped-down, GOP-sponsored bill to fund troop salaries pretty easily. And since the bill’s focus is so narrow, it shouldn’t have much trouble getting approval from the Senate and President Obama. Yet HR 1297 languishes on the desks of the GOP-led committees on armed services and transportation and infrastructure, where it will stay “for a period to be subsequently determined by the Speaker.”
So why can’t Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) get together with the committee chairman and pass that bill? That’s exactly what I hope to ask members of Congress (who’ll still be getting paid) on Friday. But trying to paint Democrats as anti-troops would be a lot harder if the troops were actually getting paid, wouldn’t it?