By Congressman Pete Gallego —
Even when Congress refuses to do its work, our military heroes continue to do theirs.
As one current service member, exasperated by the shutdown so
eloquently wrote in an email to my office, “We do not want to hear how
grateful and appreciative our leaders are for our service anymore.
Instead of expressions of gratitude through words, our leaders need to
express their gratitude through deeds, those being the passing of a
fiscally sound budget and the halt to the use of government employees as
pawns in the game of economic chess.”
I couldn't agree more.
Last week, I supported the Federal Employee Retroactive Pay Fairness
Act â€“ H.R. 3223 – to ensure all federal employees receive back pay once
the federal government re-opens, regardless of their furlough status.
Legislation to fund the government should be about funding the
government. No issue is worth shutting down the government and
sacrificing people's pay. We should not have reached this point to begin
The salaries of thousands of employees in Texas have been held hostage because of a pointless political game.
It is only fair to ensure that these employees are paid retroactively.
Authorizing back pay is an important step for federal worker â€“ but ending the shutdown is even more crucial.
Texas has ranked third among states in recent years (including the
District of Columbia) in terms of total federal government employment,
with almost 166 thousand federal employees working in the state.
This does not count the personnel at military installations. These
federal workers are employed around the state in government offices and
facilities in almost every major city.
Military members, veterans, retirees, and their families are on pace
to redeem more than $100 million in Supplemental Nutrition Assistance
Program benefits this year and many service members, especially the most
junior, live paycheck to paycheck.
If this shutdown continues for more than ten days, more than 180,000
service members in Texas would see a delay in their pay. Nearly 140,000
federal employees in Texas could be out of work.
Almost half of the Texas civilian workforce would be sent home
without a paycheck, and the rest will get a delayed paycheck â€“ affecting
more than 51,000 civilian workers in Texas.
The Small Business Administration is currently approving zero general
small business loans and real estate and equipment loan- hurting
economic development in Texas and our country.
I call on my colleagues in Texas â€“ Democrats and Republicans â€“ to
push for a vote on the Senate-passed funding measure to reopen the
Let's start acting like we love this country more than we hate each other.