With President Obama threatening earlier this week to starve granny if the GOP doesn’t give way to his demands on the debt ceiling negotiations by withholding Social Security checks, members from within Speaker John Boehner’s own House GOP caucus are moving to pressure him to take Obama’s gun from the head of our military service members in the event that current talks fail.
To that end, Rep. Louie Gohmert (TX-01) and Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX) will be holding a press conference at 2pm EDT today on their joint military pay legislation that would ensure that our military will continue to be paid if the impasse continues after the Aug. 2nd debt ceiling deadline.
After that press conference, Rep. Gohmert will be hand-carrying a discharge petition to the House Clerk for H.R. 1297, the “Ensuring Pay for Our Military Act of 2011”, which if passed into law would require the Secretary of the Treasury to pay the military during any period when there is federal budget gap. If an absolute majority of House members (218) sign the discharge petition within the required period, then the bill will automatically be placed on the Discharge Calendar and be brought to a vote. There are already 197 co-sponsors to the bill and presumably all will be signing the discharge petition.
In the current debt ceiling negotiations both sides have been tempted to use the military as a stick to threaten each other (and the rest of the country) with. Boehner could move the bill to a vote on his own, but the discharge petition applies pressure the Speaker to do the right thing or force him to do it if he continues to do the wrong thing. It also places the White House and congressional Democrats in the awkward position of either willingly disarming when it comes to military pay, or look like heartless harpies trying to score political points at the expense of our service members and their families.
You can check to see if your representative is a co-sponsor by going to Thomas and searching for H.R. 1297. If you don’t want to see the military used as a pawn by either political party in the ongoing debt ceiling/budget negotiations, you can contact your congressman and tell them to sign the discharge petition.