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Pay Our Military Act

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Ms. JACKSON LEE. Mr. Speaker, I rise to speak in support of H.R. 3210, the so-called ``Pay Our Troops Act,'' which is intended to ensure that our troops are paid in the event House Republicans succeed in shutting down the government.

The men and women of the Armed Forces who risk their lives to protect our freedoms surely are deserving of the support and resources needed to perform their duties, and that includes being paid in full and on time so they can provide for their families and loved ones.

Mr. Speaker, it would not be necessary to have to devote the considerable amount of time needed to debate and pass this legislation in the House and Senate and present it to the President if the House would simply pass the clean continuing resolution passed yesterday by the Senate.

The CR approved by the Senate funds the government and avoids a shutdown. President Obama has stated that he will sign it into law.

The clean CR passed by the Senate ensures that all the employees of the Federal Government are paid for the valuable and important service they provide to our Nation.

Mr. Speaker, instead of exempting certain groups and persons from the harm caused by a government shutdown, we should instead be focused on avoiding a shutdown, which helps no one and hurts our economy.

Those of who were serving in this body 17 years ago remember the harm caused when the Republicans shut down the government on two different occasions, which directly cost taxpayers $1.4 billion. That is $2.1 billion in today's dollars.

The last time Republicans engineered a shutdown of the government: 368 national park sites were closed; 200,000 applications for passports went unprocessed; $3.7 billion of $18 billion in local contracts went unpaid.

My state of Texas would be hit very hard and suffer unnecessarily if a government shutdown is not prevented.

Within days Texas would begin experiencing the impact of cutbacks in the $64.7 billion in Federal spending that it receives annually, including the loss of:

$518 million in Federal highway funds, $411 million for interstate highway maintenance, $130 million in home energy assistance for the poor, $71 million in Homeland Security grants, $55 million in coordinated border infrastructure, and $97 million in Federal adoption assistance.

As a senior member of the Homeland Security Committee, I am particularly concerned over the impact of a government shutdown on operations and activities that protect and secure the homeland Impacts of shutdown in Texas on homeland security.

For example, a shutdown would adversely affect the following:

Law Enforcement and Other Training: Law enforcement training would cease, including those conducted through the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center and the Secret Service's J. Rowley Training Center. This would impact CBP, ICE, Secret Service, the Federal Air Marshal Service, and would delay their ability to bring new hires into operational service. TSA would also not be able to conduct training for screeners, Behavior Detection Officers or canine units.

Frontline Personnel Hardships: The majority of the workforces in Custom and Border Protection's (CBP) Border Patrol, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, (ICE) enforcement efforts, Transportation Security Administration (TSA) aviation passenger screening, and the Coast Guard, who are heavily reliant upon receiving biweekly paychecks, would not be paid biweekly during a Federal funding hiatus.

Grant Programs for State and Local Preparedness: All DHS and Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) personnel working on grants programs would be furloughed, ceasing any further activity intended to help build state and local resiliency. Should a Federal funding hiatus be prolonged, state and local communities may have to eliminate jobs that are dependent upon grants funding. Further activity under the Securing the Cities program would be suspended.
In addition, a government shutdown will hurt children, seniors, working families, and the economically vulnerable:

Military Readiness: In Texas, approximately 52,000 civilian Department of Defense employees would be furloughed, reducing gross pay by around $274.8 million in total.

Law Enforcement and Public Safety Funds for Crime Prevention and Prosecution: Funding will be halted to Texas on an annualized portion of the $1,103,000 in Justice Assistance Grants that support law enforcement, prosecution and courts, crime prevention and education, corrections and community corrections, drug treatment and enforcement, and crime victim and witness initiatives.

Vaccines for Children: In Texas around 9,730 fewer children will not receive vaccines for diseases such as measles, mumps, rubella, tetanus, whooping cough, influenza, and Hepatitis B due to reduced funding for personnel who administer programs that provide funding for vaccinations.

Nutrition Assistance for Seniors: Texas would lose approximately $3,557,000 in funds that make it possible to provide meals for seniors.

For these reasons, we should be working to pass H.J. Res. 59 as amended by the Senate. That is the best way to keep faith with all persons who serve the American people as employees of the Federal Government, and those who depend upon the services they provide.


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