top of page

98 Republicans Voted to Freeze Military Pay; Bipartisan Bill Saves Families from Dire Consequences

Updated: Nov 2, 2023

Nearly half of House Republicans, including newly elected Speaker Mike Johnson, voted to block pay for our military. But after former Speaker McCarthy allowed a vote on the Democratic plan to keep the government open, a bipartisan majority in the House and Senate quickly passed a bill that President Biden signed - preventing a harmful government shutdown.

Military family government shutdown
Credit: Robert Mercado/U.S. Army

Still, 98 Republicans in the House and Senate voted to stop paying military families and border patrol and shut down the federal government. The next week Republicans voted to remove McCarthy as their Speaker.

Had Republicans succeeded in forcing a shutdown, active duty service members would have been required to report for duty without pay. Even though many of these families already live paycheck to paycheck, making less than $30,000 annually with no savings to fall back on to cover their basic necessities like food and rent.

On top of not being paid, they would have also lost access to food assistance programs like Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC), which 25% of active duty families depend on to feed their children.

To avoid the massive strain this would have put on military families, Democrats in the House provided Republican Speaker McCarthy the majority of the votes he needed to pass a bill that would keep the government running.

The historic bipartisan effort will keep military families free from severe economic hardship, strains on marriages, and military children going without at least through mid-November.

Are we safe from a government shutdown?

The bipartisan continuing resolution allows the government to stay open for 45 days, giving the House and Senate more time to finish their funding legislation.

Before that bill runs out, Congress must work together to pass spending bills for the coming year, otherwise we will once again be facing another government shutdown.

What is a continuing resolution?

Continuing resolutions are temporary spending bills that allow federal government operations to continue (usually at the same levels from the previous year) when final appropriations have not been approved by Congress and the President.

What’s next?

The Republicans who voted against funding the military ousted Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy from his position in retaliation for stopping the impending government shutdown in a no-confidence vote.

After failing to agree on a Speaker for three weeks, House Republicans finally settled on Rep. Mike Johnson from Louisiana, who voted against providing healthcare for military members. His election has raised alarm with some military and veterans groups who are concerned about his vote on military pay and his vote to block healthcare for veterans suffering from exposure to toxic burn pits during the Iraq War.

If Congress can not agree on funding by November 15th, soldiers could face losing pay and benefits again.


bottom of page