Sullivan, Wicker, Cruz Introduce Bill to Guarantee Military Pay in Event of Government Shutdown

WASHINGTON—U.S. Senators Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska), Roger Wicker (R-Miss.), and Ted Cruz (R-Texas), along with 11 of their Senate colleagues, have introduced S. 2835, the Pay Our Military Act of 2023, legislation to ensure America’s military service members—Army, Air Force, Marine Corps, Navy, Coast Guard and Space Force—are paid in the event of a government shutdown in Fiscal Year 2024. Wicker serves as ranking member of the Senate Armed Services Committee (SASC), on which Sullivan also serves. Cruz serves as ranking member of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation, which has jurisdiction over the Coast Guard, and on which Sullivan also serves.

The legislation would appropriate funds to pay members of the Armed Forces, including reservists, if a temporary or full-year federal funding bill is not passed and signed by October 1. The Pay Our Military Act would also fund the pay of civilian Department of Defense (DOD) and Department of Homeland Security (DHS) personnel and contractors whom each department’s respective secretary determines are “providing support to members of the Armed Forces.”

“We have entered the most dangerous period in American history since the end of World War II—a new era of authoritarian aggression led by the dictators in Beijing and Moscow,” said Sen. Sullivan. “All Americans count on our military members to be ready to respond to threats to the homeland, wherever and whenever they may arise. The last thing our brave men and women in uniform need to be worrying about is whether they will get a paycheck, and whether their families are taken care of back home. I urge my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to come together and pass our commonsense legislation to alleviate those concerns as we face a potential government shutdown. Senators and congressmen often like to say how much they support our military members—now they have an opportunity to show it.”

“Our military service members dedicate their lives to their country, and the least we can do is ensure their paychecks arrive on time.” Sen.Wicker said. “Extending pay for our service members would demonstrate that legislators mean it when they say ‘thank you for your service,’ and it would ensure that military readiness does not become a casualty of Congressional negotiation.” 

“Following the blockage of my bicameral, bipartisan legislation, the Pay Our Coast Guard Act, by some Senate Democrats, it has become apparent that there are politicians in this chamber who intend to leave parts of our military unfunded in the event of a government shutdown,” Sen. Cruz said. “Defunding our military dangerously undermines our national security and hinders the men and women who bravely protect Texas and our great nation. I urge all of my colleagues—on both sides of the aisle and in both chambers—to pass this legislation expeditiously and pay our military in the event of a government shutdown.”

Cosponsors of the bill include Senators Ted Budd (R-N.C.), Steve Daines (R-Mont.), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Thom Tillis (R-N.C.), Tommy Tuberville (R-Ala.), Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.), Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Miss.), Mike Rounds (R-S.D.), Rick Scott (R-Fla.), J.D. Vance (R-Ohio), and Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska). Rep. Jen Kiggans (R-Va.) has introduced companion legislation in the House.

Last week, Senators Cruz and Sullivan attempted to pass the Pay Our Coast Guard Act, legislation to ensure Coast Guard personnel receive pay and allowances in the event of a government shutdown if the other members of the Armed Forces receive pay and allowances. However, the bill was blocked by Senate Democrats.

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