Senators push bill to continue military pay during shutdown

Two senators introduced a bill on Wednesday that would keep paychecks coming to members of the military in the event of a government shutdown.

The bill from Sens. Mark Udall (D-Colo.) and Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) would allow service members to be paid during a shutdown and also allow paychecks to be sent to civilian employees in warzones or “doing jobs critical to supporting military operations.”

The senators introduced a similar bill in January.

The Pentagon said this week that military pay would be delayed if the government shuts down. Service members would continue to go to work in a shutdown, along with some Defense Department civilian employees who are deemed essential.

They would receive back pay once the government is funded again.

When the government nearly shut down in 2011, there were also legislative attempts to continue paying service members in a shutdown. 

Republicans in the House passed a bill in 2011 ahead of the possible shutdown that would have paid the military, but it was rejected by Senate Democratic leaders due to riders on the bill, according to Military Times.

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), who has led the effort to defund ObamaCare in the continuing resolution (CR), suggested on Friday that the House should pass a military-only funding measure in response to the Senate stripping out the ObamaCare language from its bill to fund the government.