Fitzpatrick: Protect Pay for Those Who Protect Us [H.R. 55]





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Published on Oct 8, 2013

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to once again thank the men and women of our federal law enforcement community and those brave soldiers, sailors and airmen of our armed services.

Certainly we are thankful for them each and every day for protecting us and our nation, but recent events again remind us of their importance.

After the Capitol was thrown into lock down last week, Capitol Police and other federal officers sprung into action to protect the building and those inside. In their rush to service I'm sure none of them thought about the fact that, as we continue in a partial government shutdown, that they might not be paid - even though for some that may have been the case.

While there is uncertainty about the nation's fiscal path in Washington, that uncertainty should never be passed along to our service members and federal law enforcement officers.

The Strengthening Homeland Security, Intelligence, and Essential Law Enforcement Departments- or SHIELD - Act of 2013 alleviates that doubt.

This simple, bipartisan legislation I've introduced prioritizes and protects pay for soldiers and law enforcement personnel if borrowing limits are reached, or there is an interruption in appropriations - like there is right now.

In our most difficult hours, we rely on our federal law enforcement officers and our military for the protection of our life, liberty and freedom. No service member or critical officer protecting the United States at home or abroad should have to worry about their paycheck in the event of a government shutdown - nor should they be used as a bargaining chip in partisan budget debates.

Thankfully, during this current budget impasse pay for our troops was secured early through a bipartisan vote - which I applaud the president for agreeing to. However, the SHIELD Act would codify the measure into law, meaning paychecks would never again be threatened and action would never have to be taken to protect this basic principle.

This bill already has the strong support of organizations like the Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association which represents dedicated first responders. And, just as important, its common sense legislation that every-day Americans understand and expect from a Congress that often stumbles in its responsibilities.

Mr. Speaker, we owe it to the brave men and women who protect us -- both abroad and in our communities - to make sure their pay doesn't become a political pawn at the whim of battling ideologies.

No member of our federal law enforcement community or our armed services should have to should we let our financial problems rest on the backs of those who selflessly serve the American people.

By ensuring funding for critical federal officers and our troops, we are allowing agencies and departments to sustain a strong law enforcement and military presence at all times - regardless of fiscal situations.

Mr. Speaker I urge support for this common sense, bipartisan legislation and call for leadership in both parties to consider the SHIELD Act for quick passage.


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