Pence Says U.S. Troops ‘Deserve Better’ Than Dems Playing Politics

Vice president tells service members he and President Donald Trump 'are not going to put up with' government shutdown over DACA

Vice President Mike Pence on Sunday told U.S. troops serving overseas that they “deserve better” than congressional Democrats’ decision to “play politics with military pay” in forcing Friday’s government shutdown by filibustering a bipartisan short-term funding measure.

Democratic lawmakers refused to compromise on their demand that the spending measure also include amnesty for illegal immigrants brought to the U.S. as children — causing the Senate to fall short of the 60 votes need to stop filibusters.

Pence blasted Democrats while speaking to American service members at an airbase on the Syrian border, telling the soldiers and airmen the opposition party is putting “politics ahead of their military pay.”

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“Now I’m sure you’re all aware of what’s going on in Washington, D.C.,” said Pence. “Despite bipartisan support for a budget resolution, a minority in the Senate has decided to play politics with military pay, but you deserve better.”

He added, “You and your families shouldn’t have to worry for one minute about whether you’re going to get paid as you serve in the uniform of the United States. So know this: Your president, your vice president, and the American people are not going to put up with it.”

When a reporter asked Pence whether it was appropriate for him to cast blame on the Democrats while addressing the troops overseas, the vice president stood firm.

Related: Trump Urges GOP Senate to Go Nuclear on Dems, Reopen Government

“Standing behind me and standing before me today at this American airbase are Americans who are literally paying the price for the government shutdown in Washington, D.C.,” Pence said. “The reality is that the Democrat minority in the Senate decided to put politics ahead of their military pay. And I wanted these soldiers to know that we’re with them. We’re not going to stand for it.”

Pence said that both he and Trump are demanding that Democrats prioritize military funding and “reopen the government.” But Pence threw cold water on Democrats’ amnesty demands when he insisted “we’re not going to reopen negotiations on illegal immigration until they reopen the government.”

Related: Dems Are Losing War of Schumer’s Shutdown in the Media

“Just as each of you will do whatever it takes to defend our country, just know that President Trump and I will do whatever it takes to defend you and your families,” Pence told the troops. “That said, you can be confident we’re going to get this fixed. We’re going to meet our obligations to you and your families.”

PoliZette writer Kathryn Blackhurst can be reached at [email protected]. Follow her on Twitter.

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PoliZette writer Kathryn Blackhurst can be reached at [email protected].