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We Must Ensure Pay for Our Military

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The author of this entry is responsible for this content, which is not edited by the Wilson County News or
U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison
July 8, 2011 | 4,204 views | 8 comments

With the United States only weeks away from hitting our $14.3 trillion debt ceiling and leaders in Washington divided over deficit reduction, the American people are very concerned and rightfully so. This looming deadline over the debt ceiling certainly underscores a very troubling fiscal reality for our nation. Our soaring national debt is stifling economic growth and job creation. But this budget crisis is also an opportunity for leaders in Washington to make the tough choices that are necessary to put our country back on a path to sustainable prosperity.

Despite some resistance to the true causes and the seriousness of our nation’s budget deficit and debt problems, I am undeterred, and remain hopeful that Congress and the White House will come together in the next few weeks on a plan to balance the federal budget and ensure that we will not need to raise the debt ceiling again. But as Congress and the White House hammer out tough decisions on spending, there should be no disagreement nor any question over whether America will pay our troops on time and in full for their services. If there is one thing that all of us in Congress can agree on, it is our tremendous pride and support for our brave men and women in uniform.

As current law stands, if the Congress and the White House were unable to agree on a budget and debt limit plan, and a government shutdown were to occur, our active duty military would not receive a paycheck to support themselves and their families. They would continue to do their patriotic duties and, in many cases, put their lives on the line for our country. But they would not be paid, until Congress and the President could agree on the debt ceiling plan.

Last April, when we were facing the threat of another government shutdown, I introduced the Ensuring Pay for Our Military Act. My simple and straightforward legislation ensures that in the event of a government shutdown over budget issues, our nation's servicemen and women would continue to receive their pay on time and in full.

Immediately after introducing this bill last spring, I was contacted by a military spouse. Her husband was on his tenth deployment in support of operations in the Middle East. The spouse was at home raising their 1-year-old son. She was very concerned about whether she would be able to pay her bills if the government in fact shut down. And her heartbreaking story is the story of thousands of other military families across our country. We can only imagine the stress of families who have loved ones in harm's way.

Even the threat of an interruption of pay is very stressful for military families. This is unacceptable. The last thing our military families should worry about is not receiving their paycheck on time because Congress and the President have not been able to make the tough choices on the nation’s finances.

At a time when our nation has 100,000 troops in Afghanistan and more than 45,000 in Iraq, it is unconscionable to me that we ask our troops to serve on the front lines while worrying about whether the mortgage can be paid on time. From the state of Texas alone, there are more than 28,000 soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines currently deployed, which is second only to California in the highest number of deployed troops from one state.

These brave Texans are working long hours in extreme conditions, facing a dangerous enemy, and the most remarkable thing is they all raised their right hands and volunteered to serve. The very least we can do is make sure they get paid on time in the event of a government shutdown. It would be tremendously damaging for morale to tell our troops to go on long deployments, away from their families, and then not pay them.

My bill currently has 80 cosponsors in the Senate and should sail through both houses of Congress with bipartisan support. Now is the time for Congress to vote to ensure that our troops will not miss a paycheck due to gridlock in Washington. Now. Not at midnight on August 2nd.

Kay Bailey Hutchison is the senior U.S. Senator from Texas
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Your Opinions and Comments

4th Generation Texan  
Sutherland Springs  
July 16, 2011 10:30am
7th, no one can even get Obama and the Dems to propose any action. He ill absolute do no more than give a very vague details, no numbers, no dollar amounts. Obama has to be the worse president we have ever had.... More ›

4th Generation Texan  
Sutherland Springs  
July 16, 2011 10:20am
I'm about 99% sure that Obama is worst than a mad dog. He's an idealogical driven beast that is not much different from a terrorist except he hasn't used guns to enforce his views (not yet anyway). Obama, the fudge lying... More ›

The Marcelina Muse  
Dry Tank, TX  
July 15, 2011 11:06am
I agree 7th, any fool can see that what we really need is much more government growth and spending. Why the audacity of those do nothing GOP idiots! Wanting to balance the budget and cut the national debt, to say nothing of their... More ›

7th Generation La Vernian  
La Vernia  
July 15, 2011 10:35am
Blame it on the "Do nothing" party, GOP will lose the elections over this battle.

Alvin Charmaine  
July 12, 2011 11:54am
Unfortunately for all of us the Govt is in high level talks to save us all- from them. So, they wont be shutting down, just screwing up.

July 12, 2011 11:08am
If Government does shut down, I believe that the salaries and benefits of Congress and Commobama should be the first expenses cut.

Alvin Charmaine  
July 12, 2011 9:41am
We should not raise the debt limit. No matter what that means. The music has to stop sometime.

Elaine K.  
July 8, 2011 8:38pm
New column posted.

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