The House on Saturday night unanimously passed a bill to protect servicemembers and their families from any pay halts or slowdowns in the event the federal government shuts down at midnight Monday.
The “Pay our Military Act” was put forward by Republican representatives earlier on Saturday, effectively removing military pay as a reason for lawmakers to agree to a budget that includes funding for the Affordable Care Act, better known as Obamacare.
Just days earlier Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., who chairs the Senate Armed Services Committee, released a statement say it is “unconscionable that some members of Congress would place their own policy preferences ahead of the needs of our troops and their families.”
The House-passed military pay bill also guarantees that all Defense Department civilian employees and contractors supporting DoD operations will be paid.
With funding for troops and DoD civilians and contractors protected, the Republicans-controlled House on Sunday voted 231-192 to delay implementation of Obamacare for a year.
“We will do our job and send this bill over, and then it’s up to the Senate to pass it and stop a government shutdown,” Republicans said in a statement prior to making the vote.
Notwithstanding GOP opposition to Obamacare in the Senate, lawmakers there passed a continuing resolution to keep the government operating without language intended to undermine implementation of the law.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., has also made it clear he will not support any bill that dismantles the law, and the President promised to veto such legislation if it does get to his desk.
"After weeks of futile political games from Republicans, we are still at square one: Republicans must decide whether to pass the Senate’s clean CR, or force a Republican government shutdown,” Reid said in a statement.