Congress again avoided a government shutdown and kicked the can down the road for another 45 days, but much damage has been and continues to be done to our all-volunteer military by irresponsible members of Congress.

Military leaders have consistently recommended that Congress do its duty and fully fund our government rather than continue the crippling uncertainty of short-term continuing resolutions.

Put bluntly, the financial uncertainty created by Congress’s dereliction of duty damages and adversely impacts our national security.

Lack of a reliable budget and one senator’s ability to hold up promotions for senior military leaders over a social issue sap the morale of our service members and their families.

It also shows a serious lack of respect for those who actually serve our country by politicians (many who never served) who beat their chest and proudly proclaim that they “fully support our troops.”

Their actions left our service members and their families with no guarantee of receiving a paycheck in the event of a shutdown.

Military officials and VA wasted resources preparing for contingency operations as veterans and military families were left to wonder if medical and dental care would be available during the shutdown.

This dysfunctional behavior in Congress comes at a time when our country’s military faces substantial challenges around the globe and each branch of the military faces unprecedented recruiting challenges.

The overall message being sent to those serving or considering serving and their families is unmistakable — “We will NOT prioritize the support and care of those willing to serve and sacrifice on behalf of our country.”

How does a deployed member of our military deal with the problems that his or her family will face if paychecks stop or access to health care is suspended?

How does a family pay their rent or afford groceries?

How does a recruiter make any headway with potential recruits?

How do military retirees encourage future service members when the clear evidence suggests that those potential recruits will not have the full support of their government?

Missing a paycheck or delaying medical care for a family member is a stress that those serving in our military should NEVER have to worry about, especially if they are deployed in harm’s way on our behalf.

By LEN CROSBY Guest Opinion

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