President Obama on Tuesday told the nation’s military servicemembers that they “deserve better” and that the administration would take steps to ensure they received the support they needed during the government shutdown.
“As President and your Commander in Chief, I’ve worked to make sure you have the strategy, the resources and the support you need to complete the missions our nation asks of you. Every time, you’ve met your responsibilities and performed with extraordinary professionalism, skill and courage,” said Obama in a video message released shortly after midnight on Tuesday morning.
“Unfortunately, Congress has not fulfilled its responsibility. It has failed to pass a budget and, as a result, much of our government must now shut down until Congress funds it again,” he continued.
Obama’s message came minutes after a deadline for a funding bill passed with the House and Senate unable to reach an accord.
The president told the military he wanted to “speak directly to you about what happens next.”
Obama said that those in uniform would “remain on your normal duty status.”
“We need you to be ready for any contingency,” he said, adding that “ongoing military operations – like our efforts in Afghanistan – will continue.”
Obama also touted his signing of the Pay Our Military Act on Monday, which ensures that military troops and essential civilians and contractors continue to receive their salaries.
The president told civilians working for the Defense Department, many of whom had already been furloughed because of sequestration cuts, that they and their families “deserve better than the dysfunction we’re seeing in Congress.”
“Your talents and dedication help keep our military the best in the world. That’s why I’ll keep working to get Congress to reopen our government and get you back to work as soon as possible,” Obama added.
The president also vowed that he would “keep fighting to get rid of those across-the-board budget cuts—the sequester—which are hurting our military and our economy.”
“We need a responsible approach that deals with our fiscal challenges and keeps our military and our economy strong,” said Obama. “And I’m going to make sure you stay the greatest military in the world—bar none. That’s what I’m fighting for. That’s what you and your families deserve.”