WASHINGTON, D.C. – Successful passage and implementation of a law to ensure the work and pay of military personnel aren’t interrupted by the government shutdown shows that additional stopgap measures to fund important government functions can work and should be considered by the Senate, U.S. Representative Martha Roby (R-AL) said Tuesday.
The Pay Our Military Act, which was approved by the House and Senate and signed into law by President Obama last week, has made it possible for active duty soldiers and civilian military personnel supporting the Armed Forces to go on working and receive their pay despite the government shutdown. The House has passed similar bi-partisan measures that would restore funding for the Veterans’ Administration, the National Parks Service, the Food and Drug Administration’s food inspections, National Guard and Reserve payments and food assistance programs for mothers and infants.
However, President Obama and Senate Democrats have blocked these measures from coming up for a vote, a response Rep. Roby called unnecessary, given the success of the military pay bill.
“I never wanted a government shutdown, and I have consistently voted to avoid one,” Rep. Roby said. “But, the Pay Our Military Act proves there are ways Congress can work together – even during a government shutdown – on non-controversial measures that ease the blow on the American people while we sort out the more controversial issues.
“We showed with the Pay Our Military Act that there were some things too important to let politics get in the way of funding. The financial security of our military families certainly is one. But isn’t funding for veterans’ services one, too? How about paying our national guardsmen and reservists, or making sure we have enough federal disaster funding? Or cancer treatments and research at the National Institutes of Health? Aren’t these government priorities important enough to put aside political differences and fund without delay?”
Specifically, the House has passed the following bills, each with bi-partisan support:
·H.J. Res. 72, the Honoring Our Promise to America’s Veterans Act;
·H.J. Res. 70, the Open Our National Parks and Museum Act;
·H.J. Res 73, the Research for Lifesaving Cures Act;
·H.J. Res. 85, the National Emergency and Disaster Recovery Act;
·H.J. Res. 75, the Nutrition Assistance for Low-Income Women and Children Act;
·H.J. Res. 77, the Food and Drug Safety Act;
·H.R. 3230, the Pay Our Guard and Reserve Act.
This week the House is expected to pass funding measures for Head Start programs and impact aid for local schools, both of which are important for Alabama’s Second Congressional District.
As the government funding debate begins to merge with debt negotiations, Rep. Roby said petty politics cannot lead to decisions that would cause irrevocable damage to the nation’s economy.
“As the deadline approaches for dealing with our nation’s debt, I hope we can finally engage in serious discussions about reforming our nation’s mandatory spending programs and putting our country on more solid financial footing. I came to Washington to make real reforms to our nation’s spending culture in hopes of leaving behind a more stable America for the next generation.
“At every town hall meeting and district visit throughout August and September, I had frank conversations with my constituents about the threat to our country posed by the growth of mandatory spending and out-of-control debt. It is my priority over the next several days to bring these issues to the forefront and see what reforms we can achieve.”