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Congressman Ruben Gallego

Representing the 7th District of Arizona

Rep. Gallego's amendment for a pay raise and government shutdown protection for service members

June 11, 2015
Video

MR. SPEAKER, THIS IS THE FINAL AMENDMENT TO THE BILL. IT WILL NOT DELAY THE BILL, KILL THE BILL OR SEND IT BACK TO COMMITTEE. IF ADOPTED, THE BILL WILL PROCEED IMMEDIATELY TO FINAL PASSAGE, AS AMENDED. AS MEMBERS OF CONGRESS, WE MUST ALWAYS HONOR OUR PROMISES TO THE MEN AND WOMEN WHO SERVE IN OUR MILITARY. UNFORTUNATELY, I KNOW FIRSTHAND WHAT HAPPENS WHEN WASHINGTON FAILS OUR TROOPS ON THE BATTLEFIELD AND WHEN WE COME HOME. I FOUGHT THE IRAQ WAR ON THE GROUND. I WAS SHOT AT AND EXPERIENCED I.E.D. ATTACKS. BUT BECAUSE CONGRESS DIDN'T FOLLOW THROUGH ON ITS PROMISES, OUR VEHICLES DIDN'T HAVE THE PROPER ARMOR THEY NEEDED. THIS FAIL OUR COST MY FRIENDS THEIR LIVES. LATER WHEN I GOT HOME, MY FRIENDS AND I SUFFERED NEEDLESSLY. LATER WHEN I GOT HOME -- THE SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE: THE GENTLEMAN WILL SUSPEND. THE HOUSE WILL BE IN ORDER.  LEADERSHIP ARE WHAT ENCOURAGED ME TO RUN FOR OFFICE, TO ENSURE THAT MY GENERATION OF LEADERS TAKE BETTER CARE OF OUR TROOPS THAN WE WERE TAKEN CARE OF. THAT'S WHY I'M OFFERING THIS AMENDMENT. TO MAKE GOOD ON CONGRESS' PROMISE TO GIVE OUR MILITARY MEN AND WOMEN A RAISE. THE AMENDMENT WILL LOCK IN A 2.3% INCREASE FOR ALL OF OUR SOLDIERS, SAILORS, AIRMEN AND MARINES. LAST YEAR ONE IN FOUR MEMBERS OF OUR MILITARY HAD TO RELY ON FOOD PANTRIES AND OTHER CHARITIES JUST TO MAKE ENDS MEET. THAT IS A DISGRACE. MR. SPEAKER, OUR TROOPS DESERVE A RAISE. MY AMENDMENT DOES SOMETHING ELSE THAT'S JUST AS IMPORTANT. IT ENSURES EVEN IF CONGRESS SHUTS DOWN THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT, ALL OF OUR BRAVE MEN AND WOMEN IN UNIFORM WILL STILL GET PAID. WHY SHOULD I -- OUR SERVICE MEN AND WOMEN MISS THEIR PAYCHECKS BECAUSE WE CAN'T DO OUR JOBS? WHY AM I OFFERING THIS AMENDMENT NOW? BECAUSE REPUBLICANS DON'T APPEAR TO HAVE LEARNED THE LESSONS OF THE CHAOS AND CONFUSION THEY CAUSED BY SHUTTING DOWN THE GOVERNMENT IN 2013. TODAY, MY REPUBLICAN FRIENDS ARE RISKING ANOTHER GOVERNMENT SHUTDOWN BY RESORTING TO BUDGET GIMMICKS, RELYING ON WAR FUNDING TO PAY FOR ROUTINE OPERATIONS AND MAINTENANCE. THAT'S COMPLETELY IRRESPONSIBLE. MY REPUBLICAN FRIENDS ARE FOND OF COMPARING THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT TO A FAMILY BUDGET. MR. SPEAKER, WORKING FAMILIES, MILITARY FAMILIES CAN'T RELY ON A SPECIAL SLUSH FUND TO PAY FOR THEIR DAILY EXPENSES, AND CONGRESS SHOULD NOT EITHER. WE MUST PROTECT OUR TROOPS FROM THE CONSEQUENCES OF THIS REPUBLICAN LEADERSHIP'S REFUSAL TO CONFRONT THE REALITIES OF SEQUESTRATION. THAT'S WHY THIS AMENDMENT IS SO CRITICAL. YESTERDAY, SPEAKER BOEHNER SAID VOTING AGAINST THIS BILL WOULD BE SHAMEFUL AND WE WOULD BE TURNING OUR BACKS ON OUR TROOPS. AS A MARINE AND A COMBAT VETERAN, I CAN TELL YOU THAT THE SPEAKER IS WRONG. THERE IS NO SHAME AGAINST VOTING AGAINST A BILL THAT CREATES UNCERTAINTY FOR OUR MILITARY AND RISKS ANOTHER DANGEROUS GOVERNMENT SHUTDOWN. MR. SPEAKER, THE REAL SHAME WOULD BE TO VOTE AGAINST THE AMENDMENT THAT GIVES OUR MEN AND WOMEN THE RAISE AND CERTAINTY THEY DESERVE. THANK YOU. I YIELD BACK.