The House passes a bill which would fund the military through the end of the year; Barack Obama calls it a distraction
When the Congress approved the last stop gap two week budget extension I declared that it was time for the Congress to get down to business and pass a budget for the rest of the fiscal year. I voiced my displeasure at the Republicans for what I feel is their unwillingness to tackle the budget issue for fear there would be political consequences. I also wrote that this should be the last continuing resolution and that Republicans should be prepared to pass a budget with extensive spending cuts or be prepared to shut the government down.
As the deadline fast approaches the Congress seems to be at an impasse and in the midst of these negotiations the House Republicans managed to pass a “Plan B” budget in the event that the Congress cannot agree on a long term deal before the deadline.
This new continuing resolution would include an additional $12 billion in cuts and would also fund the military for the remainder of the fiscal year. Harry Reid has called the bill a “non-starter” and the White House has stated that Barack Obama will veto the bill because he sees it as a “distraction.”
While I still feel that the time to pass a final budget is now–and still support shutting down the government if necessary–this proposal is certainly interesting. One of the reasons that the Democrats have insisted that a government shutdown would be devastating was the fact that those serving in the military would not be paid during this shutdown.
Here we have a proposal that would ensure that the military would not fall victim in the event of a government shutdown and the president has gone on record as stating that this is nothing more than a distraction. It would seem to me that if the Democrats and the president truly supported our military and were concerned about their well-being that they would be willing to at least look at this proposal before declaring that they were opposed to it.
One thing is becoming quite obvious to me with today’s turn of events–the military is being used as a bargaining chip in the budget negotiations and I find this to be quite deplorable. Shouldn’t the option at least be on the table to pass a bill which would ensure that our military still gets paid in the event of a government shutdown? Yet by dismissing this resolution out of hand without at least considering it and possibly whittling it down to the point where at least the military is funded through the end of the fiscal year–even if that means no spending cuts are included in the one week continuing resolution–the Democrats are showing us that they are willing to let the military suffer while they themselves will still be getting paid during the shutdown.
The Congress should take the time during the negotiations to at least pass a budget for military salaries while they haggle over the other issues and this resolution would have provided the Democrats and the president with the opportunity to do just that. If they were willing to at least look at this proposal the possibility would remain to come to a compromise–remove the spending cuts in return for funding the miliary through the end of the year, we can work on those spending cuts after we are assured the military is funded–and we have been told time and time again by the president that compromise is essential. Yet the president feels as if this is a distraction and he is unwilling to compromise even though this means our troops might not get paid.
It is obvious that he is trying to use our military in an attempt to strong-arm the Republicans and intimidate them into passing a budget they would probably otherwise be against and I think that our military deserves better than this.