Congressman Jack Kingston (R-GA) today joined Congressman Louie Gohmert (R-TX) in introducing legislation that would prevent any disruption in military salaries during a government shutdown. The move comes amid growing concern that service members and their families could suffer as a result of a failure to reach agreement on a budget solution for the remainder of the year.
“Our troops should not suffer for Washington’s failure to act,” said Kingston. “As the representative of more than 80,000 troops who are in and out of war zones, I know they and their families cannot afford a missed or late paycheck. Regardless of what happens in politics, we should ensure that our soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines are paid.”
The “Ensuring Pay for Our Military Act of 2011” will appropriate necessary funds to ensure that members of the military, including reserve components, continue to receive pay and allowances for their service when a funding gap occurs. That could be caused by the failure to enact interim or full-year appropriations for the Department of Defense, which results in many members serving without a paycheck until the shutdown is over. It is not enough for the military to know they will receive back pay after the shutdown is over. They need to know that their paycheck will arrive on time.
“During the government shutdown in 1995, soldiers were paid because the Defense Department had already been funded through the year,” said Kingston. “We’re not in that position now so it’s important that we don’t leave our troops on the line.”
The government has been funded through a series of continuing resolutions, the most recent of which is set to expire April 8.