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April 07, 2011

Story Correction: Clinton Did Pay Military in 1995 Shutdown, But...

Corrected: This story was wrong as written. It's below, but here's the scoop.

First, the Air Force Times did get this wrong, leading to the confusion, which got picked up by Mike Flynn.

But like I said-- that story gets it wrong. Here's why the troops got paid on time in 1995:

A frequent question is how this compares to the last government shutdown in 1995-1996. There were two shutdowns at that time, one of five days, from November 13 through November 19, 1995, and one of 21 days, from December 15, 1995 through January 5, 1996. The first shutdown was not long enough to affect pay checks, and DOD was not affected by the second because defense appropriations were enacted on December 1, so funding was available.

So, the draft guidelines should be about the same as under Clinton.

The difference isn't the procedure, but that Clinton was a responsible enough president to strike a deal on defense so that our troops would get paid.

Whereas Obama intends to hold them hostage.

Sorry for the mistake. I have to note, defensively, the Air Force Times got it wrong, which led Flynn to get it wrong, which led me to get it wrong.

I have to thank two people for getting me the right story: First, the indispensible Morgen at Verum Serum, who alerted me about 20 minutes ago that he thought the story was wrong, based on his quick googling of a Congressional Research Staff study on the 1995 shutdown.

And then, Gabe Malor, who really clarified everything with the information now printed above.

Also, I want to thank vets like USADawg who wrote to say they remembered getting paid on time every week in 1995. Yup, you're right -- but because of the deal Clinton and Gingrich struck.

The original, errant story is below. It's in error, and I'm sorry.

But there still is an important takeaway: It would in fact be Unprecedented, as Obama likes to say of himself, for a President to refuse to reach a deal to keep the troops paid during a shutdown.

Summing up: In 1995, in a time of peace, Clinton signed a bill ensuring troops' pay.

In 2011, fighting three wars, one of which he claimed to enthusiastically support and another he started, Obama is threatening to not pay troops in the field.


I had been confused about this. First, I read the military would get paid.

Then, starting last week, I begin reading that the troops wouldn't get paid. They'd earn money, but wouldn't get paid money. Until the shutdown ended.

So, why did the story go from "get paid" to "not get paid"?

Apparently, it is within the executive's power to define "essential" and "non-essential" personnel during a shutdown; non-essential personnel can be furloughed (or at least not paid until the shutdown is over).

But it seems Obama is taking the position -- for political reasons -- that the military is "non-essential." They can't be furloughed, but he has decided (or Gates has; I rather think it's Obama's call) that they'll show up for work but won't get paid until later.

Mike Flynn, citing Federal Times, notes this is not what happened during Clinton's shutdown.

When the government was shut down in 1995, military personnel continued to report to work and were paid, but the planning guidance sent to the services and defense agencies says a shutdown this time will be different.

This is Obama's choice, then, and he's doing it because the military are among the few government employees held in high regard. So they're camera-friendly props and pawns.

But don't be fooled, then: It's Obama, and not Boehner, withholding their checks. Clinton sent out the checks on time. Obama's choosing to stick it to them to make a political point.

Notice the media's not reporting this: They went from reporting troops will get paid to troops won't get paid without explaining why the change had occurred. They didn't issue corrections for their past reportage -- which is fine, as they weren't wrong before.

But now the story has changed in a crucial way and they refuse to say why.

Because of Obama. That's why.

And that's all thanks to CDR M, who writes on his own blog that the First Lady is kicking off some kind of support the troops cause on April 12th. A week they won't be paid to defend our country.

Oh, and if that isn't embarrassing enough, Obama has schedule for April 10 to April 16 "National Volunteer Week," during a week he'll be forcibly volunteering our troops to guard the country without pay.

Thanks to lots of folks for that last tip.

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posted by Ace at 04:26 PM

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