Military Payroll Held Hostage in Budget Battle? - NBC 7 San Diego

Military Payroll Held Hostage in Budget Battle?



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    Like the Congress itself, San Diego County's Congressional delegation is weighing in along party lines, blaming each other's party for holding the military payroll hostage in the budget battle.

    The day began with high hopes for real consensus on a stopgap spending measure, with guaranteed funding for the armed services through September.

    But House Republicans attached cuts that Democrats complained are ideological, irrelevant and unacceptable to the Senate and White House.

    "Unfortunately, I think our colleagues on the other side of the aisle are injecting our troops into what is a budget -- and now a social agenda -- battle, and I think that's inappropriate," said Rep. Susan Davis, (D) 53rd District.

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    If the situation isn't reconciled by midnight on Friday, some 2-million service members will get paychecks only for the first week of a 2-week salary cycle and then have to wait until a full spending bill is approved to be compensated retroactively.

    That poses a real hardship, especially for families of enlisted personnel.

    Democrats say strident demands by Tea Party activists in Congress have hijacked efforts to compromise. They cited Thursday’s House-approved cuts to greenhouse gas enforcement and abortion funding in Washington, D.C.

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    But Republicans are calling those cuts 'no-brainers', and vowing to spare the military from an interruption in their payrolls.

    "I can't believe this isn't going to be addressed.  I can't believe that something is not going to be agreed to here.  Everybody may do the 'brinksmahship thing' of saying 'No, I won't vote for this and I won't do this'.  But we're going to have to start finding reasons to vote yes," said Rep. Brian Bilbray, (R) 50th District.

    Congressman Bilbray said the least that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid could do is allow discussion on the House bill.

    Even if the objectionable GOP cuts are taken out, there'd be another starting point for House debate -- with the ultimate goal of saving military pay.