In 2013, during the last government shutdown, President Obama made sure that if the government shutdown, military pay would not be disrupted. But on the night of the 2018 shutdown, Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), blocked a resolution that would once again make sure service members were paid.
Noting that President Trump was using military pay as a rhetorical pawn to divide the country and put the blame on the Democrats, Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO) introduced the resolution that would guarantee military pay in the event of a shutdown.
“I don’t want one moment to pass with there being any uncertainty of any soldier anywhere in the world that they will be paid for the valiant work they do on behalf of our national security,” she said at the time.
But despite both Republicans and Democrats wanting to move forth with the plan, McConnell immediately objected McCaskill’s resolution.
VoteVets, a military advocacy group, slammed the Republicans for using the military “as a prop” to attack Democrats and then refusing to take action when the opportunity presented itself.
Will Fischer, the organization’s director of government relations, noted that “veterans make up 1/3 of the entire federal workforce,” and that the Republican shutdown meant they would be “hit twice” because they will end up “missing paychecks and having benefits denied or delayed.”
He told Shareblue Media, “It gets harder and harder to believe that Donald Trump and the Republicans want anything other than a shutdown, when they make military pay a key talking point, but then block Democrats’ bill to make sure our military is paid, during a shutdown.”
He added, “It’s becoming clear that shutting down the government, and holding people hostage for ransom, is the goal of Trump and Republicans. There simply is no other reason for Republicans to kill a Democratic measure to pay troops, other than to keep holding our troops and their families hostage. It’s disgusting.”
Eighteen minutes after the midnight deadline, McConnell said, “For America’s men and women in uniform, shutting down the government means delayed pay.” He had the chance to pay them, struck it down, and then used them in his attack against Democrats.
This is the part in the movie when the crazy guy shoots himself in the arm and tells officers that the other guy did it. McConnell pulled the trigger to not pay the military—and then tried to put the gun in the Democrats’ hands.
— Senate Democrats (@SenateDems) January 20, 2018