Ensuring Pay for Our Military Act

UPDATE 05 April 2011:  The bill is currently in committee and is not on the agenda for this week.  Ugh!

Thank goodness that someone in Congress has finally realized that the current budget situation is causing stress for military families! In the following video, Representatives Carter, Gohmert and Kingston discuss the Ensuring Pay for Our Military Act. This exciting and important legislation ensures that members of the United States Military get their pays, allowances and benefits, on time, in the event that Congress cannot pass a budget.

From Representative Gohmert’s press release:

“The men and women of the United States military are among the most heroic of Americans. These true patriots place their lives on the line to protect this country and ensure security for our future. If Congress cannot pass a budget, it’s not right for these valiant warriors and their families to suffer through a late paycheck. This is about paying those who protect us and defend our freedom,” said Rep. Gohmert.

“Ensuring the troops are paid on time is essential to the morale of our soldiers. No military member should have to worry about the financial situation of their family back home. The families of our service members act as a lifeline—one that supports, encourages, and impels American soldiers to defend this country with passion.”

This bill will appropriate necessary funds to ensure that members of the military, including reserve components, continue to receive all pay, allowances and benefits if a  funding gap were to occur.  The way the process works, failure to enact interim or full-year appropriations for the Department of Defense could result in members serving without seeing a paycheck until the shutdown is over.

I am extremely thankful that legislators have finally realized the need for such legislation.  I can’t imagine that any legislator would oppose this bill.  Hopefully it will be passed quickly so that military families can stop worrying about their pay.

About the Author

Kate Horrell
Kate Horrell is a military financial coach, mom of four teens, and Navy spouse. She has a background in taxes and mortgage banking, and a trove of experience helping other military families with their money. Follow her on twitter @realKateHorrell.
  • Jaime

    Yes. Really. Look back. Whenever a bill has extras in it it doesn’t pass. I am not saying this one wont. I’m not slamming the reps for dogging the dems. I’m just saying it probably won’t pass. I haven’t heard of a dem or a senator being for this bill.

  • Terrein

    I noticed nothing was said about the Retireds and Vets. Does that mean the risks and injuries we sustained in previous “conflicts” don’t count for anything? I’d hate to have to carry that news to my next appointment at the VA Hospital. That would mean the risks, wounds, separation, PTSD and nightmares; from my era, don’t carry the same weight as the current soldiers’. That’s something I would have liked to have known, before I volunteered, in the 60’s. Although I probably still would have volunteered, as my brother did (KIA).

    • Jamie

      The main difference being we are no longer working for them, If they had to shut ours off ( they won’t) we can work (I’ve seen a quadripligic with a full time greeter job so don’t tell me you can’t).

      these folks are currently serving and will be forced to work without pay. They’ll get back pay but that hardle makes up for late fees and credit damage done to them. They don’t have the option to go work somewhere else.

  • Jaime

    kate do YOU think it will pass? Not just the house but the senate and ultimately do you think the president will sign it into law?
    as of today only 53 cosupport the bill and of those only 4 are democrat. Its still in committe terriority.
    I’m just worried that some miltary families may be breathing a sigh of relief a little too early.

  • Jaime

    here you go Kate http://thehill.com/homenews/news/153535-the-polit

    “TOP GOP OFFICIALS say the military pay bill is unneccessary”

  • carla

    So is it not going to pass?? When will it go to the house if its not scheduled to be on the floor at all? Doesn’t it have to go there first? What the heck does that article mean they feel its unneccessary? Are we or are we not going to get paid?

  • carla

    do you know anything more???? From what i saw the bill is in the same spot it was on friday..i thought they said this should pass quickly. I am losing hope..

  • kittykat

    Umm…more political posturing :/ This bites the big one (to answer your question, Carla, I have read on the net that the head of the committee said that it wasn’t really necessary to go there, re: the bill, since he did not think there would be a shutdown)– gee, wish they would just have looked at it, so insure our loved ones get paid on time.

    Also, this link…food for thought…


    not keeping my hopes up…glad i have *some* savings/ TSP, but it will dry up eventually…

  • Kate

    Oh, how frustrating. It seems a little childish to say, in effect, “We’re not going to prepare for a shutdown, because we’re not going to have a shutdown.” That would be like saying, “I’m not going to prepare for an emergency, because I’m not ever going to have an emergency.” If I had a friend who said that, I would have a serious chat with them!

    I find myself in an interesting dilemma. I like to provide access to all sides of the information and let people think for themselves. However, the latest breaking “news” can be confusing to someone who doesn’t fully understand all the ins and outs of the legislative process.

    I appreciate all the links – I think more information is always good.

  • jaime

    so do you think it will pass? Or is there dwindling hope.

  • Robin

    what is really sad, is that prisoners will continue to have a roof over thier head and food on the table, and electricity annnnd running water , but if military dosnt get paid, they will have no food on the table and no money to pay thier monthly bills, like rent, water, electricity. Most military families do not have money in thier savings or someone to help them out. So this will be hurting hundreds of thousands military familes. I know this for a fact, I am a military wife, i know many families that have alrady discussed these issues with me.

    • S O

      “Most military families do not have money in thier savings or someone to help them out.”

      As a member of the Armed Forces, I am a little offended by this remark. It makes it sound like everyone in the military does not save money and that we cannot survive. I do agree with your point that this is backwards in reference to the prisons but military members do still have to have some responsibility and be able to get through a couple of days without a paycheck.

      • Amy

        Speak for yourself. We are a paycheck to paycheck family. I do work as well, but it is not enough to keep the lights on and food in our stomachs. We rely on the military paychecks to get by. I admit, we have not made the best choice financially, but this is only going to put us back into another hole for us to try to dig out of, when we are already in one. THIS family will suffer significantly without our normal paycheck…

      • Melissa

        I am not offended by this remark. There are many families in the military that are just starting out that do not have the resources to have a savings large enough to get them through something like this. Many live paycheck to paycheck. There are huge ranges of rank/pay. Some are single family incomes for various reasons. Our service members (all… to include retired etc) family should be supported/paid. I haven’t heard one family in the military say they do it for the money however without it the devastation to many will be huge. It is just unacceptable to me to think that the worry is even there for the service members and their families(past and present) to worry about.

    • Jamie

      My understanding is that military personnel continue to receive their salaries during a shutdown, as they are “essential personnel.” Is this verifiably inaccurate? (Most of the information swirling around about this topic is political posturing or opinion commentary.)

      • KateKashman

        Jamie, it is a uniquely complicated situation. Usually, when there is a government shutdown, there is a previously approved Defense Appropriations bill. The military is paid out of the Defense appropriations. However, this time, there is not a current Defense Appropriations bill. The DoD has been piggybacking on the continuing resolutions since October. No budget, and no Defense Appropriations, and no continuing resolution, and no separate legislation to pay the military, would seem to mean no money to pay the troops. From a legislative perspective, it is pretty clear. The lack of any conversation on the part of the DoD is making many people believe that there is some reason that the military might get paid. I can’t see how, but I don’t understand everything about everything.

        During a shutdown, essential federal personnel do not get paid (during the time of the shutdown.) They have, in the past, been paid retroactively for work performed during a shutdown. What could happen this time is anyone’s guess – there is no rulebook.

  • Bobby

    Here is the problem….. Up until recently pay Military Paycheck is what supported my family. My Wife finally was able to find a job (with the economy and all) and low and behold it is a Federal Government Job…. So she will be furlughed and I will not be paid…. HMMMM Awesome….. Yet Washington will tell me in 30 days to pack my bags and deploy away from my family and do my job. Wow I am so glad that I can trust my Government (the same ones that will send me to some land) to actually provide me with my paycheck…

    • Unfortunately, if Republicans had their way, your wife would probably be out of a job – permanently.

      It’s this simple. Republicans can simply take their gutting of Planned Parenthood funding off the table, restore the power to the EPA to protect the environment, and other ideological issues that don’t belong in this spending bill.

      That’s all that needs to happen. Democrats have now offered MORE cuts than Republicans originally proposed. So, why haven’t we passed a spending bill? Because Republicans are using the issue to end Planned Parenthood health services for women.

      Call your rep and tell them to avoid the shut down by taking their insane ideological issues off the table.

    • Adrian

      I am deeply sorry… I myself am looking for a job. My husband is in the army although he wasn’t deployed with his brigade he still might be deployed. If he did it would be a very stressful time. I can only imagine how you and your wife are going to feel if this bill does not pass.

  • Ann

    Speaking to my husband last night regarding this issue, he is retired and a VA disability pension and my paycheck comes from DOD, so there will be no income during this time period. My job is technically essential, but my boss is having a difficult time for some mistakes he has made, and is continuing to do stupid things and is only stating the “supervisors” are esssential. I save money for the government and no on does my job while I am not at work. Anyway, my husband says that during a “war” the military is not required to be paid, and must continue their duties.

    • Robin

      The last I remember, my husband signed a contract stating he would do his job and the government would pay him on the 1st and the 15th…nothing in there said he has to still work for no pay..

  • Artemis7299

    My husband deployed “again” to Afghanistan last Saturday for another year. You tell me how we are supposed to deal with this? He turned down a civilian contract position (which pays triple) to fulfill his duty! The military is not going to just sit down and wait out the “Fools on the Hill” for pay to resume….they will continue to do their jobs, because they have moral backbone and possess an ethic unknown to politicians. It’s called Service to Country, something they (politicians) are completely bereft of! Garbage, the whole lot of them.

    • Just tell Republicans to remove their ideological riders from the bill. The far right will not budge an inch, while Democrats have compromised MORE than halfway.

      The HydeAct already prevents federal funding of abortion – Planned Parenthood does not use federal funds for abortion services. Rather, Republicans want to shut it down for ideological purposes, preventing hundreds of thousands of women from getting the valuable health services PP provides.

      Think about it. They’re willing to put your paycheck at risk, 800,000 jobs are at risk, and an economic ripple that will do nothing but trash our economic recovery.

      Tell Repubs to take IDEOLOGY out of the bill and all will be well.

      • randy
  • Jamie

    Nothing is ever so simple as it seems.

  • 11 Bravo Wife


    I apologize for Jaime’s cold hearted & ignorant responce. I thank you, your fellow brothers & sisters for sacrifice. Probably a young military wife that hasn’t learned the hard knocks and the value of military family support REGARDLESS past or present. Speaking as Military wife and currant active duty spouce 11 Bravo of 22 years and PROUD Parents of two daughters serving active duty in the US Marine Corps & US Navy.

    But the conomy is showing us NO ONE is safe! That’s they say, We all should have 3 months of cost of living saved.

  • pissed off soldier

    My wife and I are both in the military . And we both signed a damn contract . I strongly think this has to be breaching the contract we signed . Im deploying in less than 90 days to afganistan and ill be damn if im not gonna git paid. some of them polititians in the house need to put there family members in harms way and see if they expect them to defend and die for there country for free. most military familys live on a budget so , some one should un fuck this situation.

    • annoyed soldier

      read your contract there is nothing there saying pay, i am currently army so please dont question it effecting me too, but i do know the contract, if the pay doesnt go thru you will have memorandums from dod sent out to any creditor or bill you have

  • Randy

    This has happened in years past and those of us in the military joking talked about breach of contract and walking off the job. It would be very interesting to see what happens if this actually ends up in a shutdown for an extended period of time. You have a president and a different kind of sentiment in Wash DC than in years past. If this game of chicken isn’t resolved by midnight before it goes into effect, we should assault the politicians office phone lines and computer servers, telling them exactly what we think of them. Their paychecks should stop since they obviously are not essential personel since this budget should have been past before last OCTOBER.

  • arturo

    this is not right at all , would congress work for free or put themselves on the front line to fight with out getting paid , oh wait they put it off cause it’s not their pay checks ……..congress does not worry about that hell they drive BMW’s and have 6 bedroom houses thousands and thousands in money saved up from being over paid , so why should they worry about how they are going to put food on the table or being able to keep the roof over thier heads …….i work for a government municipality and we also were forced to take furlough days and some wages were reduced and some even forced to retire and if not they would terminate those people and again the blame was the federal budget in 2009 and some how when we were forced into this council members were getting raises and building 8 million dollar parks ,

  • about to walk

    if they dont pay me i WILL walk. ill take my unit with me, armorers WILL give us the weapons, my ammo techs WILL get us the ammo. we WILL walk

    • Clive

      “if they dont pay me i WILL walk. ill take my unit with me, armorers WILL give us the weapons, my ammo techs WILL get us the ammo.”

      And if you do you’ll likely be arrested and up for court martial when this all ends. Are you really willing to put your unit and the armors through something that is going to ruin their lives?

  • concerned

    im a 2007 graduate and every year since i have had unsteady jobs since due to lay offs. I enlisted in the army in december 2010, in high hopes of ‘job security’, and im due to go to bct in less than a week. I enlisted for 5 years and is this just the beginning of it? did i make a huge mistake?

  • Stuck in Afghanistan

    It makes me sick to the stomach realizing the ideologies of our “Government”. In the end all we can really do is sit back, deal with the proverbial abuse from our leaders and wonder “WTF is going on?”. Is that what “being part of the best country on Earth” entails? God bless America while we head towards hell in a hand basket.

  • Flush This Book

    Don’t buy the Republican claims that their continuing resolution would protect the troops. If they were so concerned with protecting the troops and their pay, the GOP wouldn’t add any riders or budget cuts to the resolution that they know Democrats can’t agree with, but they did, so they are clearly playing politics with the military’s pay. Total bullshit and I’m fuming right now that they are playing that game. We are a military family and I’m furious that the GOP is using us to get what they want. Not very patriotic to me.

  • Matt

    How about we pay congress and representatives what the soldiers make and use the money that we save from that to get us out of debt. they are payed way to much of our tax dollars. cut their pay and let the service men and women get paid. Lets see a politician live off a military paycheck

  • The four Democrats who don’t mind taking health services away from poor women. The ‘blue dogs,’ as we call them.

    Simple solution: take the insane ideological stuff out of the bill, and it’ll go through immediately.

    Republicans just can’t stop themselves, though. Heck, some of them CAMPAIGNED on “shut it down!!” It’s like they’re salivating over a shut down. What a shame.

  • Republicans want to shut government down to satisfy the radical right-wingers.

    Think about it. We all want fewer abortions, right? What’s one of the best ways to reduce abortions? Reduce unwanted pregnancies. How do you do that? Provide family planning, particularly for those who can’t afford it themselves.

    Yet, Republicans want to end family planning in this country. Defunding Planned Parenthood does not belong in this bill. It’s not only pure ideology, but it’ll also generate more abortions in this country.

    For righties, it’s all about ideology. They want a ‘shut down’ because the most radical voters on their side just…want a shut down. They carried signs saying as much. Tea Party Republicans cheered “shut it down.”

    Very sad, all this.

  • April D.W

    This is so stressful. So many of us Military families and many Americans live from paycheck to paycheck not by choice. My husband shouldn’t have to worry about making our bill payments on time , buying groceries or going into debt because his pay is cut in half.

  • April D.W

    Military men and woman don’t make much as it is and to cut one’s paycheck in half when the entire pay is completely relied upon is unacceptble. We as militiary spouses and families make so many sacrifices as it is , that we along with our military spouses shouldn’t have to be sacrificing our money as well. Congress,the senate and our president need to buckle down and make an agreement already beacuse it’s not fare to us and the american people that our financial future is being held in the balance. Congress,the senate and President won’t have to worry about feeding their families or paying their bills because despite what happens they will still recieve their complete pay. I pray for a positive resolution and out come on this issue. Please Mr. President put your self in our shoes just for a moment, what would you do?:, How would you feel if this was your family? You know as well as we do you wouldn’t let your family hurt over this issue….then why do it to ours?.

  • Kellee Hartman
  • jak

    Other Trust Funds?
    There are 150 trust funds. The majors ones include Social Security, Civilian Retirement, Military Retirement, and the Highway trust funds.
    All of which, since Johnson’s time in the White House, the Democrats have been raiding each and every trust fund. Go ahead and GOOGLE Military Retirement Trust Fund and start reading up about what congress is doing to the funds!

  • jak

    It’s time we leveled with the American public about the creative financing taking place in our government. As a working person, if my company’s pension fund was “invested” in the company’s non-negotiable corporate bonds rather than free market investments, I would demand that irresponsible corporate officials be arrested and charged with the crimes they deserve. Our Congress, however, gets away with spending the money that should be in the Social Security “trust fund” without a word.
    The misstatements about the viability of these many trust funds must stop. New leadership in Congress is required to tell our citizens the truth.

  • jak

    The Highway Trust Fund is just another trust fund whose cubbard is bare. The revenues generated by the gas tax are deposited in the Highway Trust Fund. In 1969 President Johnson and Congress changed the trust fund from “off budget” to “on budget.” This allowed the government to place the excess gas tax money (not used for highways) into the general fund in an effort to hide the true cost of the Vietnam War.

  • jak

    Today, this excess money helps hide the budget deficit. In place of this excess money, the government put in Treasury Bills or bonds, which are merely IOUs, payable by future tax revenues. If the government ever really spent this surplus, it would appear on paper as an increase in the size of the budget deficit.
    If the Highway Trust Fund were moved “off budget” the excess revenue from the gas tax could not be funneled into other programs. Pete Domenici (R-NM), noted that if transportation funding were moved off budget, “fiscal discipline would not apply, and the growth of [transportation] programs would be unchecked while other programs within the unified budget would bear the burden of additional deficit reduction in order to balance the federal budget.” That is, other programs in the “unified budget” would need to be funded in their own right.

  • jak

    How dare the President and Congress as well for even allowing the president to threaten our servicemen and women by stating that their pay might not issued.

    Folk’s start writing to your congressional rep’s NOW!

    The records show that they CONGRESS has been raping these various “TRUST FUNDS” for many years. IT MUST BE STOPPED!

  • jak

    We just might need to march on DC in order to make a point….however the last time we did our Grandfather’s were gunned down in the Mall.

  • RVMi

    Forget all other arguments and consider what it you mean to not pay people for working. The government is saying they do not need to pay service men and women for the work they are doing, but forcing them to do that work under the threat of severe penalties. Yes, they are protecting our country as patriots, but it is their job. They signed a contract with the military branches they serve under to perform their duties, with pay. Take that pay and it is forced labor without restitution. Do we really have government officials that consider slavery a viable option? Seriously?! They will give their lives for us, pay them their stipend for goodness sake!

  • jcarden

    its up to the dems to not shut down the government. They can vote for the bill and no government shut down. Why do the GOP have to be the ones that does everything the dems want? Think about it..

    • jcarden

      Why don’t we work on getting rid of the laws that say congress gets paid during these times. Let’s let them suffer the consequences and not get special terms. Make them take the obamacare along with everyone else. also, take away their great retirements and make them see that they work for us. Get our government officials off of their pedestals..