Members of Armed Forces paid during shutdown

On Sept. 30, President Barack Obama signed H.R. 3210, the Pay Our Military Act. This bill’s passage was necessary to avoid any interruption of military pay due to federal government shutdown.

The legislation ensures that salaries and allowances are paid to members of the Armed Forces, including active-duty reservists, the Coast Guard and Department of Defense civilian employees and contractors who provide support to members of the Armed Forces. Spending authority under the bill ends Jan. 1, 2015, or with the enactment of a regular or stopgap appropriations measure that includes military pay. The law’s provisions are valid for the entirety of FY 2014 and go into effect in any instance of a lapse in government funding affecting military pay during the fiscal year.

On Sept. 30, President Obama enacted H.R. 1412, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Expiring Authorities Act of 2013. This measure would extend VA’s authority to provide grants and assistance to several veterans programs.

This legislation would allow VA to:

  • Provide grants to disabled veterans requiring housing modifications.
  • Verify incomes of pension recipients.
  • Set policies for addressing defaults on home loans guaranteed by the department.
  • Continue collecting co-payments from veterans for hospital and nursing home care.
  • Provide 30 additional specially-adapted housing grants to veterans who have lost – or lost use of – one or more lower extremities.
  • Keep the many child-care centers open at VA medical centers that are currently being used as pilot projects to see if child care makes it easier for veterans to keep their appointments.
  • Provide grants to organizations that offer transitional housing to homeless veterans with special needs, including women, single parents, the elderly and those with severe mental illnesses.
  • Provide allowance, through the end of 2013, to disabled veterans who have been invited by the U.S. Olympic Committee (USOC) to participate in the U.S. Paralympics.
  • Provide grants, through Dec. 31, to the USOC to plan, develop, manage and implement integrated adaptive sports programs for disabled veterans and servicemembers.

Under the bill, the Department of Labor would maintain authority to run the Homeless Veterans Reintegration Program, which provides employment assistance to homeless veterans. And VA would be authorized to use FY 2014 funding to continue the Grant and Per Diem Program to provide increased transitional housing assistance for homeless veterans and to continue the Supportive Services for Veteran Families Program, which provides rapid re-housing and homelessness prevention assistance to at-risk veterans.