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April 7, 2011

Ensuring Pay for Our Military Act

[Page: S2152]  GPO's PDF 

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Mrs. HUTCHISON. Madam President, I wish to speak about the urgent fiscal crisis that is facing our Nation. We know the Congress right now is in negotiation for a resolution that will take us until the end of the fiscal year, and it is in an atmosphere in which so many people are worried about our overwhelming debt and the deficit that would be in the budget that was submitted by the President. We now are trying to cut that budget responsibly.

The United States is averaging $4 billion a day in debt. A $1.6 trillion deficit is projected by the end of this year. That is just the deficit. That is adding to the debt. Federal spending in 2010 was 23.8 percent of gross domestic product. The CBO, the Congressional Budget Office, predicts it will be 24.7 percent of GDP in 2011.

As a nation, we must remain competitive by reducing Federal spending and spurring economic growth in the private sector. It is jobs in the private sector that will take our economy out of the doldrums where it is now.

For the sake of the American people, I hope we can come together to stop the reckless Federal spending. Continuing the spending, the borrowing, and the taxing in Washington will halt job creation and triple the debt by the end of this decade. That is what is predicted.

We must make bold cuts where we can by carefully also prioritizing investment in areas of strategic national importance. What we need now is for the President, the Senate majority leader, and the House Speaker to sit in a room and not come out until a deal is made that has the votes to pass.

I do not want a government shutdown. The consequence of a government shutdown will be enormous, and so many people who are talking about that as an option, as if it is not a big deal, just do not realize how many lives it will touch and how hard it is going to make life for so many people--people who have depended on benefits, such as veterans.

We do not know what will happen in a government shutdown. We do not know what will happen to our military because that is not clear. That is what I want to talk about today.

A government shutdown will put people in peril in many areas, but now we have a situation in which our military, our Active-Duty military--almost 90,000 are in Afghanistan, 47,000 in Iraq--is put in a position today of now also wondering if their spouses at home with children are going to get their paychecks. If we have a government shutdown that will affect their ability to pay their mortgages.

Madam President, let me ask, are there time limits in place?

The ACTING PRESIDENT pro tempore. There is an order to recognize Senator Ayotte for her first speech at 10:40 a.m.

Mrs. HUTCHISON. Thank you, Madam President.

Let me just say that I have introduced legislation. I have cosponsors--CASEY, INHOFE, SNOWE, MURKOWSKI, COLLINS, AYOTTE, and HOEVEN. It is the Ensuring Pay for our Military Act of

[Page: S2153]  GPO's PDF
2011. It is very simple. It just ensures that in the event of a Federal Government shutdown--which I do not want to happen and do not support--our military will be paid. It also will allow anyone who is serving our military--civilian defense employees or contractors who do the food services--to also be able to go to work and not have to worry about what is going to be happening back home, especially for those who are serving in harsh conditions overseas.

I so hope we will be able to pass this bill. I do not want 1 more minute of stress on our military. The bill is very simple, and it is very short and very clear: Our military personnel and their support will not be affected by a government shutdown.

I hope I can have more colleagues signing up. We have introduced this bill, S. 724, and I hope we can get a vote on this bill in very short order so this is off the table.

Madam President, I yield the floor.

(Senate - April 6, 2011)

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