President Obama made sure the troops got paid during a government shutdown. Why won't Trump do the same?
As they ready for a government shutdown under Donald Trump's erratic leadership, Republicans still have not taken any measures to make sure U.S. troops will get paid on time if the federal government stops functioning in coming days.
By contrast, Republicans are going to great lengths to make sure that national parks remain open during any shutdown. Nervous about the public relations fallout from its failure to keep the government open, the GOP has selected U.S. parks as its top priority.
Not the troops.
"The Trump administration is drawing up plans to keep hundreds of national parks and monuments open to the public if the government shuts down this weekend, a precedent-setting change aimed at blunting anger over the disruption of federal services," the Washington Post reports.
None of that has stopped Donald Trump from accusing Democrats of somehow attacking the military with regards to a possible shutdown:
A government shutdown will be devastating to our military...something the Dems care very little about!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 18, 2018
Trump repeated those attacks on Democrats when he visited the Pentagon Thursday, falsely implying they are trying to hurt the military.
But the simple fact is that Trump's party controls the House and Senate. If they remain united in how they vote this week, there will be no government shutdown. Democrats have no power to pull the plug.
In terms of shutdowns, employees of agencies and departments considered nonessential would be placed on furlough and stop working until Congress is able to agree on a bill for the federal budget.
"In previous shutdowns, everyone who stayed home was paid retroactively after an agreement was reached in Washington," CNN reports.
Members of the U.S. military, of course, are considered to be essential employees so they continue to work. "However, the troops including those in combat will potentially not be paid during a shutdown," according to CNN.
Veterans have been fighting to protect our public lands and national parks from assault by this administration, practically since Donald Trump took the oath of office," said Garett Reppenhagen, Iraq War veteran and western states director for the Vet Voice Foundation, in a statement to Shareblue Media.
"While wed be pleased to see parks remain open during the shutdown, it smacks of rank hypocrisy to do that, while executing plans to shrink our public lands and national monuments, so they can be exploited by prospectors and well-heeled private interests," Reppenhagen continued. "If the administration can rightfully keep our parks open, they can keep our troops and veterans protected during a shutdown, as well.
In 2013, President Barack Obama signed a bill that guaranteed troops would get paid even if the government stopped functioning for partisan reasons. (That shutdown lasted 17 days.)
The move also ensured continued pay for civilian employees at the Defense Department, as well as Pentagon contractors whom Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel determined were providing support to members of the Armed Forces.
With the next shutdown than 40 hours away, there's been no attempt in the Republican-controlled Congress to do the same and make sure troops get paid on time.
Instead, the administration is focused on making sure tourists aren't upset when they go to visit parks, such as the National Zoo in Washington, D.C..