Yesterday, Congressman Owens introduced a measure on the House floor to ensure military members are paid for their service in the event of a government shutdown. To view video of Rep. Owens speaking in support of his motion, please click here.
"It is unacceptable for those who risk their lives for our freedom to face negative consequences because Washington can't compromise," Owens said. "A government shutdown holds great implications for troops at military installations and their families. As a representative for Fort Drum, the 18,000 soldiers who serve there and the military families that call Northern New York their home, there is no question our inability to come to an agreement has real implications for the best and bravest back home."
Owens introduced the measure during debate of H.R. 1363, a bill that would fund the Department of Defense through the end of the fiscal year, but included no provision to ensure that soldiers and their families on-base continue to receive paychecks in the increasingly high likelihood of a government shutdown.
The federal government is currently operating under the third stopgap spending bill passed by Congress in recent months, which expires on April 8, 2011. If no additional funding bill is made law before midnight on Friday, the government will shut down. It has been reported that, in the event of a government shutdown, troops would remain on duty but will not receive their due pay until Washington agrees on a funding bill.
To end government fiscal gridlock, Congressman Owens has called for a modest two-to-three percent cut to all federal programs through the fiscal year so that Congress may focus on working with the President to produce a 2012 budget focused on job creation and debt reduction. The only exception to Owens' proposal is to exempt Social Security from any cuts, because it is a self-funding program.
Owens' motion failed Thursday afternoon along a party-line vote, 191-236.