Vice President Mike Pence on Sunday reassured U.S. troops abroad he and President Trump were fighting for their interests during government spending negotiations, telling service members the administration wouldn't entertain "illegal immigration" talks until the shutdown ended.
"Despite bipartisan support for a budget resolution, a minority in the Senate has decided to play politics with military pay. But you deserve better," Pence told personnel at an undisclosed military facility near the Syrian border."You and your families shouldn't have to worry for one minute about whether you're going to get paid because you serve in the uniform of the United States."
"We're going to demand that they reopen the government. In fact, we're not going to reopen [negotiations] on illegal immigration until they reopen the government and give you, our soldiers, and your families the benefits and wages you've earned," Pence continued to applause.
Despite bipartisan support for a budget resolution, a minority in the Senate has decided to play politics with military pay. America’s military deserves better. Understand this: @POTUS & I and the American people are NOT GOING TO PUT UP WITH IT. pic.twitter.com/em5oSFmgDm— Vice President Mike Pence (@VP) January 21, 2018
Pence encouraged service members to set aside distractions, focus on their mission of countering the Islamic State, and take care of one another while he and Trump defended them and their families during funding discussions.
He was confident a resolution would be found soon, Pence said.
The 332nd Air Expeditionary Wing, which was responsible for about half of the munitions dropped on ISIS during Operation Inherent Resolve, is based at the facility, according to a pool report.
Troops had been following news of the shutdown, per pool, adding some had expressed concern over whether their next paychecks would be delayed.
Pence's speech follows a meeting with Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi in Cairo on Saturday.
Earlier Sunday, White House press secretary Sarah Sanders confirmed that the American Forces Network, used by military personnel to watch the NFL playoffs, had resumed broadcasting overseas.