Congress can agree on one thing: military will be paid if government shuts down
September 30th, 2013
06:36 PM ET

Congress can agree on one thing: military will be paid if government shuts down

By Ted Barrett

Despite bitter partisanship that threatened a government shutdown, Congress actually managed to come together to pass one bill on Monday –unanimously, at that.

The Senate signed off on a House-approved measure to ensure members of the military would continue to get paid if congressional wrangling over spending and Obamacare resulted in a shutdown.

But it would also shield lawmakers from having to explain why men and women on the front lines would not be paid with federal agencies spending less money or none at all, even as House and Senate members keep getting their checks.

Democrats who control the Senate initially said on Sunday they would not approve a separate bill for the military. But they changed their minds by Monday afternoon, and Majority Leader Harry Reid called for expedited passage.

Senate Republicans on Monday accused Reid of moving pre-emptively because he knew it would be "untenable," in the words of Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, not to have the military paid during a shutdown.

Several GOP senators wanted to force the issue in a series of floor speeches that were planned for just around the time Reid cleared the bill.

As it turns out, unanimous votes aren't all that rare on Capitol Hill. So far this year, there have been 36 pieces of legislation signed into law. All but a handful were passed with unanimous or near-unanimous support from both chambers.

Reid's decision on Monday even had Sen. Ted Cruz rising "in praise" of the majority leader.

"For everyone who thinks that compromise is impossible in Washington, I would point to this as an example," said Cruz, the Texas Republican who has led the charge against Obamacare in the Senate.

Cruz said the military pay bill should be on Obama's desk by Monday night.

CNN's Ashley Killough and Robert Yoon contributed to this report.

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Filed under: Congress • Military
soundoff (23 Responses)
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  4. Edward Mangan

    Of course the Pentagon and their cronies will stay fully operational. Remember they hold the weapons and will intimidate
    manipulate, lie and commit plain murder to keep their Empire growing.

    October 9, 2013 at 10:31 pm | Reply
  5. nick

    @itsdad what would you cut out of the militarys budget? im curious. I am currently deployed and i can tell you one thing we as a military are feeling cuts much more then any other government worker and were forced to leave our families. So what do u suggest the take away???

    October 2, 2013 at 12:35 pm | Reply
  6. Bubba

    Nice to know both parties agree on this. American fighting forces protect American lives daily. The least we can do is ensure they are paid. Next, we need to ensure our civilian protectors are also paid.

    October 2, 2013 at 12:32 am | Reply
    • John McKane

      Actually Bubba, these useless wars in both Iraq and Afghanistan have absolutely nothing to do with our national security nor with any of our rights or freedoms. That is pure right-wing mumbo-jumbo to arouse false patriotism and scare the public needlessly!

      October 2, 2013 at 11:38 am | Reply
  7. joe d

    yeah, they care more about israelis the americans....they are traitors

    October 1, 2013 at 8:08 am | Reply
  8. ShiverMeTimbers

    Ha ha ha, we can't pay our bills but Apartheid Israel will still get its welfare money. What a hoot.

    October 1, 2013 at 4:11 am | Reply
  9. USAPeasant

    This is one small victory in the Shutdown mess. Though keep in mind it is still going to affect the military and other agencies tied to foreign affairs and intelligence if the shutdown lasts too long. Really can't blame people like Edward Snowden for leaking when the Leadership in Congress on both sides is so messed up. In fact in a strange way it makes the agencies look good because it gives the American People a folk hero, even if they are a bit flawed.

    Perhaps this one concession could get the ball rolling on some more compromises to make sure that this shutdown is brief and its impact is minimized as much as possible. No doubt not paying the military fighting a war would have been a woeful mark on history. Other parts of a long term shutdown would be terrible too. At the same time, not everything can be funded, America cannot keep spending a trillion dollars a year sustainably especially when the interest alone is nearing a trillion dollars.

    Some cuts have to be on the table, a lot of backwards practices have to be reformed or abolished, like sending billions of dollars to foreign countries in turmoil or with vast human rights abuse records, and funding dubious domestic spying programs. Some things in our military/homeland security can be cut though besides people's paychecks or at least changed to be more efficient such as buying 1 billion bullets for DHS or nation building in places that lack civilization. Even some of Obamacare has to be up for grabs. It cost 1 trillion dollars to implement and counting and it's effects are still not either certain after 2, almost 3 years, they're either bad to the economy or freedom, or that money was largely wasted. There is a lot of good in Obamacare too though, some its reforms are noble indeed and worthy of attention and support, but some stuff in it either has to be reformed, cut, or thrown out all together.

    October 1, 2013 at 3:13 am | Reply
  10. john smith

    America is the root of all terror. America has invaded sixty countries since world war 2.
    In 1953 America overthrow Iran's democratic government Mohammad Mosaddegh and installed a brutal dictator Shah. America helped Shah of Iran to establish secret police and killed thousands of Iranian people.
    During Iran-Iraq war evil America supported Suddam Hossain and killed millions of Iranian people. In 1989, America, is the only country ever, shot down Iran's civilian air plane, killing 290 people.
    In 2003,America invaded Iraq and killed 1,000,000+ innocent Iraqi people and 4,000,000+ Iraqi people were displaced.
    Now America is a failed state with huge debt. Its debt will be 22 trillion by 2015.

    October 1, 2013 at 3:04 am | Reply
    • ShiverMeTimbers

      You give us too much credit. Don't forget about America's illegitimate, obnoxious, stepchild Israel.

      October 1, 2013 at 4:12 am | Reply
    • nick

      do America a favor and kill yourself

      October 2, 2013 at 12:40 pm | Reply
  11. dianne

    I get all my medication through champva and I take insulin will I still get my medicine since champva is for veterns

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  12. Tryuhjk Ffhkth

    Make no mistake no one in America is free not even close...nice work War-Pigs...

    September 30, 2013 at 10:56 pm | Reply
  13. Tryuhjk Ffhkth

    And why can't a unpaid US Military fight and win against the unpaid militarys of the World...

    September 30, 2013 at 10:53 pm | Reply
    • Maritha

      You can't possibly be serious. Other countries military are paid. Cut the senators, congress, and the presidential pay, and all his VACATIONS! Maybe things would improve! Military budget has been decreased, read up!

      October 1, 2013 at 12:11 pm | Reply
    • nick

      your a douchbag lol

      October 2, 2013 at 12:39 pm | Reply
  14. Donna Oliveri

    It is nice to see they CAN get something right.

    September 30, 2013 at 7:42 pm | Reply
    • Joseph McCarthy

      Is this truly right thing to do, Donna? Somehow I don't think so. We need to quit this insane military spending of ours if we're ever going to balance the budget!

      September 30, 2013 at 7:55 pm | Reply
      • ltsdad

        Valid point, military spending should be addressed and proper cuts made. They should be made properly though, transitioning people out of the military as their enlistments run out, not abruptly stopping their pay while they continue serving their country as a means to support themselves and their families. Don't agree with a sudden stop in pay for anyone, military or not.

        September 30, 2013 at 9:48 pm |

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