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Guard, Reserve pay protection bill passes House

Oct. 3, 2013 - 04:15PM   |  
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The House passed a bill Thursday to exempt National Guard and Reserve pay and allowances from the government shutdown, but the bill is unlikely to become law.

It passed on a 265-160 vote. All of the opponents were Democrats. Thirty-three Democrats voted with Republicans to pass the measure.

While Congress and the White House agreed on Monday to a measure exempting active-duty service members and some Defense Department civilians and contractors from having their pay delayed as a result of the Oct. 1 government shutdown, the White House and Senate object to any additional changes short of a full-government funding bill.

House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, said the Pay Our Guard and Reserve Act is an effort to keep “critical parts of the government running in the face of Democrats’ refusal to negotiate.” Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., called the House efforts “pointless” as long as the rest of the government remains shut down.

The Defense Department appears to have solved the problem of not having the money to pay Guard and Reserve members by starting to cancel weekend drills.

Sponsored by Rep. Harold Rogers, R-Ky., the bill would provide whatever appropriations are required — without specifying an amount — to pay for inactive duty training in fiscal 2014. This is similar to language in the Pay Our Military Act that became law on Monday, just before the midnight shutdown.

Monday’s law covered pay and allowances for National Guard and reserve members, but only those who were full-time active duty. Lawmakers pushing the legislation said the Defense Department’s interpretation of the law did not help people with dual status as federal workers and National Guard technicians.

“Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel has improperly furloughed countless Guardsmen and women across the country, in violation of the intent of law,” said Rep. Candice Miller, R-Mich.

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