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Congressional bunfights and bull***t

April 9, 2011

This past week has been extremely stressful for all of us in the military community. Whoa… Who am I kidding – this has been one of those strung tight as wire, angry at the world around us, how dare they weeks! I’m pissed, I’m irked, I’m flaming mad, I’m ready to take a 2×6 and smack someone upside the head!

Why are we being treated this way?? The one percent of the country that are bearing the brunt of two wars; interminable deployments; lack of mental health care for military spouses; suicide rates going up and up… Why do we bear the brunt of the temper tantrums of our elected officials; why are we bearing the brunt of the ideological battles and political posturing of members of Congress?

The stress levels of those who are either heading towards yet another deployment (such as yours truly) those who are going through deployment or dealing with the fall out of the last deployment are already sky high. We don’t need to be further burdened with worrying about the paycheques, about the bills.

Everyone is telling us – oh, how wonderful, it’s over. Ahem – not quite. It’s postponed, according to all the news I’m hearing. This is the seventh stopgap funding bill. That’s right, the SEVENTH time we have funded two wars, and an entire country on a thrown together mishmash of a budget – “enough to tide us over while we make the tough decisions”… and anyone who believes that, I’ve got a lovely bridge in Brooklyn for sale. These people can’t make a tough decision – these are the same folks who defunded veteran housing subsidies, but saved the Army funding for NASCAR!

Midmonth payday is safe – but in 6 days when this extension runs out, are we back on the griddle? According to the AirForce Times “Funding expires at 12:01 a.m. on April 15, or early Friday morning.” So – are we going to do this again, worry about end of month payday?

During our predeployment briefings, we are told over and over to keep the stress off our deployed spouses, to take care of the problems at home without bothering them. Some people pretend that all is wonderful, happy clappy super duper, nothing for you to worry about dear; look at the pretty picture Katie drew. This – since it wasn’t up to us to report, but was being reported by every agency on the planet – was unavoidable. How many troops were outside the wire, not thinking about the mission but worrying about their family? The junior enlisted and even junior officer families often live payday to payday. Worrying about how to pay the car insurance bill, make the car payment, pay the rent or buy diapers – do you worry about that, or your downrange spouse? How much worry can one person handle?

H.R. 1297, introduced by Reps. Louie Gohmert (R-TX) and Jack Kingston (R-GA), and S. 724 introduced by Sens. Bob Casey (D-PA) and Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX), would continue pay and allowances for active and reserve component forces in the event of a failure to enact interim or full-year appropriations for the Armed Forces. MOAA has a letter that you can fill out and it will be emailed to the appropriate congresscritter. I filled it out with some of my own thoughts, and had it sent to my elected officials in the state we live in now, and the state we are still residents of. This is the LEAST that needs to be done. The very very least.

This doesn’t discuss the survivor benefits to those families that lost a servicemember – that’s another group that deserves this protection. In case anyone forgot – we lost 13 servicemembers since April 1st. thirteen. Maybe those in Congress need a reminder? How about a phone call or thirteen? How about an email or thirteen? How about a letter or thirteen?

We are all busy – we are all stressed. But if we don’t make the calls, send the emails, and the letters – we’ll be going through another one of these panic inducing congressional bunfights soon.


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