Word that the Government will not shutdown came as I was writing this post on why the Military would not have been paid, if a shutdown became reality. It’s still an important subject, because it could happen again, there is legislation pending in both the House and Senate to legislate the payment of troops which needs to go forward, and specifically, we must understand what is most important to Democrats. See the details on tonight’s agreement below. See an April 9th update below.
A report created for Congress dated February 18, 2011 looks at past government shutdowns, analyzes them and explains what happened at the time. From this report there are several important things you and I need to know about how our Military is paid during these times, assuming we have proper leadership and not a president willing to hold our troops hostage to keep abortions free for low income women.
The most recent shutdowns were during the Clinton administration. There were two in 1995. One was five days long and necessitated no special arrangements for payroll. The second was 21 days long, December 16, 1995 to January 6, 1996.
The Constitution, statutory provisions, court opinions, and Department of Justice (DOJ) opinions provide the legal framework for how funding gaps and shutdowns have occurred in recent decades. Article I, Section 9 of the Constitution states that “No Money shall be drawn from the Treasury, but in Consequence of Appropriations made by Law.” Federal employees and contractors cannot be paid, for example, if appropriations have not been enacted.
To secure that idea, the Antideficiency Act further restricted payments that the Constitution may have allowed.
The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) provides agencies with annual instructions on how to prepare for and operate during a funding gap. Agency heads are directed to use Circular No. A-11 (encompassing the legal framework mentioned above) and various established DOJ opinions to arrange the shut-down of services, or the continuation of services. Since I am addressing the Military and their paychecks, I’m citing only that directive:
…the total number of employees to be “retained” under the plan (i.e., not subject to furlough), broken out into two categories: (1) employees “engaged in military, law enforcement, or direct provision of health care activities” and (2) employees whose “compensation is financed by a resource other than annual appropriations”;
In 1990, Congress clarified the meaning of “emergencies involving the safety of human life or the protection of property. The Military fits within that clarification.
But as I said, things are different in The Time of Obama. Rather than follow the first guidelines for Military in a government shutdown delineated during the Reagan administration, and followed in the Clinton administration when the longest shutdown occurred, the Obama administration has other plans.
In a memo prepared earlier this month, Defense officials noted that service members and some civilian workers, including those involved in national security and the protection of life and property, still must report for duty but will not be paid until Congress appropriates funds to reimburse them for that period of service. All other employees will be furloughed, the memo stated.
The same article says service members might be required to take on responsibilities of furlought civilian employees.
This Obama directive is a “draft guidance,” prepared before the House passed a continuing resolution funding the Pentagon to the end of the fiscal year in September. Perhaps there is still an opportunity for the administration create another draft to take care of our Military.
We have to ask, why would Obama specifically target our Nation’s defenders, who are already woefully underpaid, in many cases away from their families with few means of tending to their welfare?
Another consideration is the Thirteenth Amendment.
Section 1. Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.
Section 2. Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation
The possibility that the military will be required to continue on duty without pay also highlights one of the important differences between the military and the rest of the federal government. The government can’t require its civilian work force to operate without pay. Its only options, with the civilian work force, are furloughing employees and shutting down services. The civilian work force is protected by union agreements and labor laws in this regard. The troops are not.
Republicans in the House and and Republican and a Democrat in the Senate have introduced bills to ensure the payment of the military, but according to GovTrack this minute (9:35 pm CDT) the House bill is still in the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. It was referred to the House Armed Services Committee but does not say whether it has been considered or passed by it. There are 133 sponsors, 7 of which are Democrat. Senate bill S724 was introduce on April 5th and is in the Senate Appropriations Committee. There are 50 sponsors, 10 of the Democrats.
Perhaps this is all moot. Greta Van Susteran is reporting a deal has been struck. Didn’t we know it would be?
UPDATE: There is a deal. Boehner has confirmed it, but did not give details. Carl Cameron on Fox is explaining.
$40 BILLION $38.5 BILLION in spending cuts, down from $61 BILLION promised by Republicans this fiscal year. Cameron says Boehner is pleased.
The Military is funded through April 2012.
Planned Parenthood will be funded but Harry Reid has committed to having a straight-up vote to discontinue that funding, and another individual vote to repealing ObamaCare. Big concessions, we’re told. It appears that Reid may have the votes to stop the defunding of Planned Parenthood.
Tonight, a bridge-loan is being prepared. Boehner says the vote will not be held until next week when it reaches legislative form. Also tonight another short-term Continuing Resolution is in the works to keep the government open until about next Wednesday.
UPDATE: April 9th, 2011: Also in the deal last night, lower funding for the IRS to implement ObamaCare is included, along with an “audit” of the ObamaCare waivers provided to unions and companies – and a series of studies to examine the impact of the ObamaCare law.
Obama is on this minute with no details, but he is telling another story, about yet another fifth-grader and is reminding us that the future is not for us but for the children. Gah!
Having said all that that, let us not forget, going into the 2012 election, that Obama was fine with delaying pay for the Military – would absolutely not bend on defunding Planned Parenthood, whose low income clients could and should be cared for by Medicaid. The problem there is, Medicaid does not provide abortion without medical necessity, rape or incest – or an individual state covering the cost for a Medicaid patient. So Democrats need Planned Parenthood. Abortion is more important to our elected representatives than the welfare of our troops. Thanks to Ace of Spades, NiceDeb and Big Government