Our Congress continues to disappoint. Texas GOP Representative Louie Gohmert began a petition drive to introduce a “Pay Troops First” bill to guarantee funding for military pay, veterans benefits, and military retiree income. He began the effort because of President Obama’s threats to not pay these patriots in the event of a government shutdown due to the debt ceiling crisis. Although Gohmert expected to easily obtain the 218 signatures necessary to bring the bill to the House floor, in two weeks time he had received only 9 signatures.
That’s sad and shameful.
Concurrently, Texas GOP Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison introduced similar legislation in the Upper House, but the Senate Majority Leader, Democrat Harry Reid, refused to allow the proposal to leave committee.
Both Gohmert’s and Hutchison’s proposals seemed like no-brainer, sail-to-victory pieces of legislation, but they failed to muster any movement.
What’s going on?
Apparently both Reid and the Speaker of the House, John Boehner (R-OH), wanted to keep the troop pay issue alive as they wrangle over competing proposals for addressing the debt crisis:
Leaders on both sides do not want to remove military pay from the debate because they believe that having it at risk will make it easier for lawmakers to go along with a deal for which they otherwise would not vote.
I was shocked when I saw President Obama tum his back on our servicemembers and threaten to withhold military, veteran, and retiree pay as a form of political leverage in his fight with the Congress over the budget and the debt ceiling. I thought his threat was a despicable course of action for a Commander-in-Chief, and I said as much and more in my previous Big Peace article: Threatening Military Pay Emboldens Adversaries and Destroys Morale…Way to Go, Obama!
I am more shocked to learn that our legislators are doing essentially the same thing. After all, failing to support a measure to pay the troops is the same as threatening not to pay them. I am profoundly disappointed in Speaker Boehner and every Congressman who did not support the Gohmert initiative. The Senate is…well…the Senate. I was not surprised by Harry Reid’s lack of care for the military, but that doesn’t make it any less disgusting.
Our Congress, like our President, are shamelessly using the military as pawns in their go-nowhere war with each other. Who loses? We all do. Failing to take care of the men and women who bravely protect this great nation hurts their morale, encourages our adversaries, and shakes the security foundation we all rely upon to guarantee our freedom.
Mike Angley is the award-winning author of the thriller series, the Child Finder trilogy. He is a retired USAF Colonel and 25-year career Special Agent with the Air Force Office of Special Investigations (OSI). Follow him on Twitter: @MikeAngley, FaceBook: http://www.facebook.com/mike.angley, and visit his website: www.mikeangley.com.