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McCollum Floor Remarks Introducing Pay Our Military Act

January 20, 2018
Press Release

Congresswoman Betty McCollum (DFL-Minn.) spoke on the House Floor on January 20, 2018 to introduce the Pay Our Military Act of 2018, which ensures that pay and death benefits for our service members continue during the Trump-Republican shutdown. Video of Congresswoman McCollum's remarks is available here. Congresswoman McCollum's full remarks are below:

Mr. Speaker, the failure of President Trump and the Republican-controlled Congress to do their work on time and in good faith has serious consequences for our country and our national security. The Republican approach of governing by short-term continuing resolution deprives our military of the long-term budget certainty they need to keep our country safe.

President Trump’s Secretary of Defense has warned of the severe harm that operating under continuing resolutions has done to our military readiness.

Mr. Speaker, it is time for the President and the Republicans to end this chaos and work with us on a long-term budget deal that reopens our government, adequately funds our military, and upholds our commitments here at home.

Sadly, the Trump Shutdown that began at midnight means that hundreds of thousands of government employees who serve in critical roles keeping us safe will now be forced to work without pay. And we thank them for their service.

As the President himself has acknowledged, this Republican-inflicted shutdown will mean that our active duty military will not get paid, causing serious repercussions for their families.

I grew up in a military family and I understand the sacrifices that our service members and their families make. I know that all of us - Democrats and Republicans - agree that it is just plain wrong to ask our men and women in uniform to put their lives on the line without pay.

That’s why I’ve introduced the Pay Our Military Act of 2018. This bill provides both pay and death benefits for our servicemen and women during this government shutdown. It includes pay and support for the Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force, and Coast Guard.

This bill ensures that our military is able to perform their duties during any shutdown this fiscal year without worrying about the financial security of their families. Should one of our servicemen or women make the ultimate sacrifice, this bill ensures that their family will be taken care of by our country. That is the least we can do.

There is a strong precedent for this bill, and the House passed similar legislation unanimously during the last government shutdown in 2013.

This morning, President Trump tweeted that our country needs to be “even better to our military.” The Pay Our Military Act fulfills that mission.

I urge a NO vote on the previous question so we can bring up this bill and pay our troops! Mr. Speaker, I yield back.