Washington, DC – Today, House Armed Services Committee Ranking Member Adam Smith (D-WA) released the following statement about Vice President Mike Pence’s trip to Afghanistan, where he held a press event to make remarks about pay for U.S. service members:

“Republicans have it within their power to pass a bill any time they choose, to ensure our troops are paid at the end of the month and receive critical benefits like death gratuities when a service member is killed or dies during the shutdown; but they are refusing to do it. The Vice President’s remarks are simply inaccurate.

“When the government shut down in 2013, Speaker Boehner and a Democratic Senate passed legislation ahead of time to make sure the troops’ pay wouldn’t be affected by a shutdown. That would be a reasonable precaution to take in order to protect our service members’ pay. Now, with Republicans in control of both houses of Congress, they are refusing to bring up measures to protect our troops.

“This weekend, when Democrats offered and attempted to compel House Republican Leadership to bring up legislation (H.R. 4871) that would have guaranteed that military pay and death benefits during a government shutdown, House Republicans, who hold the majority, voted to move forward without considering this legislation. I supported this legislation and voted to bring up this measure. Senator Claire McCaskill proposed similar legislation in the Senate, but that chamber’s Republican leadership similarly opposed doing so. That is hardly the best way to put our service members first.”