"Speaker Ryan should talk to Leader McConnell, who's the only person in the U.S. Senate standing in the way of paying our troops."
If Republicans in Congress are upset that the government shutdown they engineered is preventing the men and women in the U.S. military from receiving their pay and benefits, they have no one to blame but themselves.
But of course, that won’t stop them from pointing the finger in the opposite direction, despite the fact that it is the GOP which controls both houses of Congress.
As the deadline to avoid a shutdown rapidly approached Friday night, Missouri Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill offered a resolution that would have protected service members’ pay if that deadline were not met. This was a similar effort to that put in place by the Obama administration when Republicans caused a government shutdown in 2013.
Majority Leader Mitch McConnell flatly refused it, leaving troops’ pay and benefits up in the air along with so many other essential functions of the government.
And yet, in the face of that inarguable fact, Republicans are typically spinning falsehoods and trying to pin the blame for their own incompetence on Democrats.
During his trip to the Middle East, Mike Pence lied right to the troops’ faces when he told them that “a minority in the Senate” were responsible for blocking their pay.
And House Speaker Paul Ryan also attempted to lay this debacle at the feet of Democrats.
But Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer was having none of it.
“The Leader accuses Democrats of holding up pay for our troops. I heard Speaker Ryan blame the Senate on TV,” Schumer noted on the Senate floor. “But yesterday, Mr. President, Sen. McCaskill offered a motion to make sure our military gets paid. And the Majority Leader himself objected.”
If Ryan is truly upset that troops’ aren’t getting paid, “[he] should talk to Leader McConnell, who’s the only person in the U.S. Senate standing in the way of paying our troops, not anybody here,” Schumer declared.
“We don’t want to use the troops as hostages,” he continued. “Unfortunately, some on the other side may be doing just that.”
If McConnell isn’t interested in supporting a resolution that doesn’t have his name on it, there’s a simple solution to that.
“If there’s pride of authorship, let him offer a resolution! We won’t block it; we’ll applaud it,” Schumer stated.
It is appalling that Republicans would use our military as a political football, refusing to do right by them and then insisting that it is the other side causing harm.
Coming from a party led by Donald Trump, it is also frustratingly unsurprising.
As Illinois Democratic Sen. Tammy Duckworth, an Iraq War veteran, noted on Saturday, it is abhorrent for someone like her to “be lectured about what our military needs by a five-deferment draft dodger” like Trump or as she dubbed him, “Cadet Bone Spurs.”
As Schumer, McCaskill, Duckworth, and congressional Democrats as a whole have made clear, if Republicans care about the men and women in the U.S. military, it is high time for them to stop making the rounds on television to whine about Democrats.
It’s time for them to actually get to work, re-open the government, and put country before party.