The U.S. is about to hit the $14.3 trillion debt ceiling. All indications are that Congress and the President are not even close to any deal to raise the spending limit. The impact of hitting the debt ceiling is not fully known, but one thing is for sure, military pay is once again in the cross hairs.
The Department of Treasury website reads: “If Congress fails to increase the debt limit, the government would have to stop, limit, or delay payments on a broad range of legal obligations, including Social Security and Medicare benefits, military salaries, interest on the national debt, tax refunds, and many other commitments.” [You can bet VA Disability Compensation, Veterans Pension and military retirement pay are included in that list.]
That pretty much says it all.
One thing is for sure, had Congress passed the Ensuring Pay for Our Military Act at least our servicemembers would not be dealing with the fear of no-payday, again. A proposition that I find disgusting, especially with our military currently fighting battles all over the Middle East.
Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX) introduced the Senate version of the Ensuring Pay for our Military Act (S.721) in April of this year. Hutchison describes her bill as “simple and straightforward legislation [that] ensures that in the event of a government shutdown over budget issues, our nation's servicemen and women would continue to receive their pay on time and in full.” Seems simple enough. Well then, why hasn’t it passed either the House (HR. 1297) or the Senate yet?
I think we all know why - brinksmanship. I wrote about this last April when they did the same thing over the budget deadline (see Military Pay Held Hostage). Military pay is once again being used as a political tool to create added urgency to the situation. A political game of chicken, whoever flinches first, looses.