Former Army National Guard general and Rep. Bill Enyart (D-Ill.) ripped into his GOP colleagues on Thursday, accusing them of being disingenuous in their efforts to pass a bill that would restore funding only for select military personnel payments that are currently in jeopardy due to the ongoing government shutdown.
In a speech from the House floor, Enyart, a freshman and 35-year military veteran, blasted the "absolute, utter cynicism" of the "Honoring Our Promise to America's Veterans Act," which later passed a House vote with Democratic support. Senate Democrats have insisted that they won't support a piecemeal approach to dampening the blow of the shutdown, instead calling for Republicans in the House to pass a clean government funding bill to reopen the government in its entirety.
"The only thing that bill does is give the politicians who sponsored it and who vote for it a claim while they wrap themselves in the flag to say they support the troops," Enyart said, pointing out that the underlying bill actually contained cuts to key veterans programs. "It's as phony as putting a flag pin on your lapel and claiming that makes you a patriot."
Enyart also pointed out that hundred of thousands of other federal employees around the nation were currently furloughed. Like the military personnel at the heart of the GOP's mini-spending bill, they couldn't afford to miss a paycheck, he said. Enyart then called on his colleagues to vote on a bill that would "put the government back to work."
"If you are a patriot behind that American flag pin, have the guts to show it," he said.