Congressman Dan Benishek (MI-01) today announced his support for H.R. 1551, the "Guarantee Paychecks for America's Military Families Act." This bill guarantees that if the federal debt limit is reached or a lapse in federal funding occurs, all military families, including civilians working in combat zones, will continue to receive paychecks.
"The idea of our soldiers not getting paid is simply unacceptable. The men and women fighting for this nation's freedom should not be penalized because Congress cannot get its act together," said Benishek, an Iron Mountain surgeon who is serving in his first term in Congress.
Benishek stated that the bill would establish the following payment priorities if the federal debt limit is reached:
1. The payment on the debt to prevent a technical default;
2. The payment of strictly uniformed military members wherever they are serving;
3. The payment of military and civilian defense personnel serving in combat zones.
Benishek noted that the legislation gives the Secretary of the Treasury the ability to use money from the general fund to ensure the military is paid during any lapse in appropriations.
"This bipartisan measure is not about Democrats and Republicans, it's about protecting those who protect us," said Benishek, observing that the bill has been supported by members from both political parties.
The bill's sponsor, Rep. Duncan Hunter of California, stated, "This legislation is not just about protecting military pay in the event the debt ceiling is reached--it ensures that, no matter what the situation, our military men and women will receive a paycheck for their service and the risk they accept on behalf of every American."
According to the Treasury Department, it is estimated that unless a Congressional deal is reached, the federal debt limit will be reached on August 2nd.