House passes measure aimed at bringing military chaplains back to work
October 5th, 2013
02:22 PM ET
12 months ago

House passes measure aimed at bringing military chaplains back to work

(CNN) – The House of Representatives was nearly unanimous in a Saturday vote that mandated military installations around the country continue to provide religious services during the government shutdown.

The measure, which needed a two-thirds majority of support in the House, passed by a vote of 400-1. The only no vote came from Rep. William Enyart, D-Illinois.

The measure was not a spending measure and only expressed that Congress did not want the Department of Defense to suspend religious programs during the shutdown for fear that it "threatens the ability of members of the armed services and their families to exercise their First Amendment rights to worship and participate in religious activities.”

Despite the fact that certain service members were working during the shutdown, the Defense Department decided to furlough civilian and contract workers because the department lacked an appropriations bill. This move included some religious leaders.

"At a time when the military is considering alternative sources of funding for sporting events at the service academies, no one seems to be looking for funding to ensure the free exercise rights of Catholics in uniform," John Schlageter, general counsel for the Archdiocese for the Military Services, USA, told CNN. "Why not?"

The Defense Department had allowed athletic teams from military service academies to play Saturday despite the shutdown because, they said, the game is paid for with non-appropriated funds.

This shortage of chaplains also appalled some lawmakers.

"There's no doubt the furloughing of people hired or contracted to perform the duties of military chaplains is having an effect," said Rep. Joe Wilson, R-South Carolina.

The resolution was sponsored by Republican Rep. Doug Collins of Georgia, who serves as a U.S. Air Force Reserve chaplain.

While heading to the floor to vote, some Democratic lawmakers were surprised the bill was being brought to the floor.

"I did not know Speaker Boehner was going to put it on the floor," said Rep. Steve Israel, D-New York.

House Republican Whip Kevin McCarthy said the bill should not have come as a surprise and was brought up today - along with a bill to pay all furloughed employees for their time away from the job - because tomorrow is Sunday.

"It was brought up because the attention just came up," McCarthy said as he raced to the floor. "They have a First Amendment right."

Shortly after the vote, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel announced that most Department of Defense civilian employees "placed on emergency furlough during the government shutdown will be asked to return to work beginning next week.”

Hagel said his department, along with the Justice Department, concluded that the law does allow the Department of Defense to eliminate furloughs for employees whose responsibilities contribute to the morale, well-being, capabilities and readiness of service members.

– CNN's Barbara Starr contributed to this report.


Filed under: Government Shutdown • House
soundoff (37 Responses)
  1. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    Just attach all these republican pr bills to the senate resolution and return them to the right wing nut jobs in congress.

    October 5, 2013 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  2. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    Can you say cheap political stunt by the right wing nut jobs?

    October 5, 2013 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  3. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    Political posturing from the lowest form of life, republicans. So lets see, they are willing to give up their beliefs to help the non essentials and now the chaplains, ( less than 900,000 people ) at the expense of seeing that 40 million people will not have health care. The GOP continue to smell like a dead skunk on Alligator Alley on an August afternoon.

    October 5, 2013 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  4. Tigas

    The House of Representatives is a house of traitors! Obama's campaign to make his shutdown as painful as possible will not work if they keep on going against his will. Before the House reacted, any Chaplain that performed a service would have been arrested. They need to hold the Red Line!!!

    October 5, 2013 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  5. the hippies were right

    Can this get any stupider? Do these idiots really believe that we cannot see their silly game? Purposely shut down the government, then wait to see what they can piecemeal back in order to score brownie points. They show up at areas that they closed and use the people protesting as pawns while saying, "we're not going to let the president use these people as pawns". I have many friends that consider themselves Independents who are not stupid and know what the House is doing and what other republican politicians are not doing to stop this charade. This IS game-over for these clowns!

    October 5, 2013 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  6. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    Being a right wing nut job is like being a card carrying member of al Qaida.

    October 5, 2013 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  7. 2020

    House GOP playing dead panel choosing who live who die, isn't it?

    They sling mud right back to their face. sickening.

    October 5, 2013 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  8. Wake up People!

    Military chaplains?? Necessary really?? But no WIC for hungry children. Good going GOP. Carry on.

    October 5, 2013 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  9. tammyk tammy

    Once the GOTP gets rid of the ACA, they can replace medicine and science with religion and we can all just pray our illnesses away. Is this their long awaited healthcare plan? If you are sick, I guess you just didn't pray hard enough or it is all part of God's plan so live with it. Oh yeah, and don't touch their real god a.k.a. their insurance lobby money.

    October 5, 2013 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  10. What's in that tea anyway?

    Really Tea Bagger idiots? Now, I believe in the tenants of spiritual expression and practices, especially during these very troubled times...But come on, your idiocy is showing Tea Trolls. End This Shutdown before we vote all you anarchists out in 2014. At least you can go home with a pension...We do not need you in any branch of leadership

    October 5, 2013 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  11. tammyk tammy

    Guess the chaplains can't be expected to do God's work unless there is a paycheck in it. Not like there aren't other churches near all military bases that wouldn't welcome soldiers temporarily into their congregations. The Tea Party could care less about your health, but thinks missing church might devastate your life. Wonder what Jesus the healer would make of their priorities. I bet He would support healthcare for the millions who have gone without it for years.

    October 5, 2013 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  12. Bill from GA

    How about we bring NASA back to work and get this next Mars Mission back on track??
    Lots at stake here, gals!

    Or better yet, end this stupid shutdown and run this country like intelligent adults.

    October 5, 2013 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  13. GOP = Greed Over People

    By all means, let the GOP TP Taliban get the religious leaders back on the job of saving souls!

    One of the more vital aspects of government services!

    WWJD?

    He would apparently cut off food and services to poor women and children but keep ministering to the "lost souls among us".

    Perhaps, the House GOP should invite one the ministers to their daily "TP caucus" where they plot these attacks on the poor?

    October 5, 2013 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  14. Marie MD

    Separation of church and state and military chaplains.
    First they show up at the WWII memorial pretending to care about the veterans and completely pulling the wool over the eyes of those there that they are the ones who closed that and other memorials.
    Then we have the Canadian terrorist comparing his 21 hours of diarrhea of the mouth and children stories to the March of Bataan. I guess they don't teach US history in Canada and this guy figures nobody was listening and he is not that far off but some poor soul researched the green eggs and ham fiasco.

    October 5, 2013 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  15. Lynda/Minnesota

    John Boehner has lost complete control of his caucus, the House of Representatives, and his leadership within the GOP. For a man who holds our country's purse strings he is an utter failure.

    October 5, 2013 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  16. AmericaFirst

    Seriously. We'll fund only the portions of government the Tea Slags like, and nothing else. Well, it doesn't work like that. Never has, never will.

    October 5, 2013 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
  17. AmericaFirst

    Let's bring up a bill to put 20 chaplains to work, but shut down the government to keep 40 million people from having healthcare. Makes perfect sense if you're a tea toteler.

    October 5, 2013 05:50 pm at 5:50 pm |
  18. AmericaFirst

    Hey, I have an idea. Let's bring up another bill to save the Tea species in India. We'll just keep passing absurdity bills all day long while we shut down the United States of America. Makes a person wonder if these people in the TEA party were only children. Spoiled, my way or the highway, I can only see the world from my perspective and no one else's. YOU LOST, now hang it up.

    October 5, 2013 05:53 pm at 5:53 pm |
  19. Lynda/Minnesota

    Ah, yes. Pimping God for votes. Why am I not surprised?

    A much needed lesson in GOP servitude ... eh, GOPerville?

    Do we now allow John Boehner to "pick and choose his favorites" to allocate funding for because last I read God wasn't exactly endorsing the choosing of favorites in His "walk with me" gospels.

    October 5, 2013 05:54 pm at 5:54 pm |
  20. AmericaFirst

    Hey, Republicans, how about actually governing instead of public relations B.S tricks. YOU LOST, now hang it up.

    October 5, 2013 05:54 pm at 5:54 pm |
  21. Jeff Brown in Jersey

    Programs to feed people like Meals on Wheels and WIC for children will remain unfunded. EVERY REPUBLICAN OUT NEXT YEAR!

    October 5, 2013 06:06 pm at 6:06 pm |
  22. Thomas

    I'm sure we will sleep better ?

    October 5, 2013 06:07 pm at 6:07 pm |
  23. ThinkAgain

    Doesn't the GOP want to first check to see for whom each chaplain voted for in the last election? You know, to insure our military isn't "infiltrated" by someone who supports Obamacare ...

    October 5, 2013 06:13 pm at 6:13 pm |
  24. ThinkAgain

    The GOP says they support our military – but they had no qualms shutting down the government, which will affect Meals on Wheels – which provides meals to 1000's of retired and disabled military personnel.

    October 5, 2013 06:14 pm at 6:14 pm |
  25. ThinkAgain

    @Tigas: "Obama's campaign to make his shutdown as painful as possible ..."

    30 members of the GOP suicide caucus are the ones continuing the shutdown. Boehner doesn't have the stones to stand up to them; they don't have the guts to let the clean Continuing Resolution come up for a vote in the House.

    You need to turn off Fox and all the RWNJ radio jocks, all of whom whined and begged and pleaded for the shutdown, but now won't claim it because it is hurting people and the vast majority of Americans don't support it.

    You on the right are nothing but a bunch of sniveling, hypocritical, lying bags of dung.

    October 5, 2013 06:16 pm at 6:16 pm |
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