Biden, during tribute to Gen. Milley, says government shutdown would be ‘dereliction of duty’ to US troops

President Biden on Friday warned the House of Representatives that it would be committing an “absolute dereliction of duty” to American troops if they cannot figure out a way to avoid a government shutdown. 

Biden made the blistering remark during a farewell tribute to outgoing Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley, whose role today has now been taken over by Air Force Gen. Charles Q. Brown, Jr. Congress has until 12:01 a.m. Sunday to pass a short-term funding bill. 

“If the House fails to fulfill its most basic function, if it fails to fund government by tomorrow, we will have failed all our troops,” Biden said. “Our service members will keep upholding their oath. Showing up for work. Standing sentinel around the world. Keeping our country secure. But they won’t get paid. It’s a disgrace.

“Thousands of Defense Department civilian and civilian servants will be sent home. And the longer the shutdown lasts, the harder it will become military families to pay their bills,” Biden continued. “We can’t be playing politics while our troops stand in the breach. It’s an absolute dereliction of duty. As leaders, we must never lose sight of the direct impacts of the decisions we make and the impact they have on the lives and families around the world.” 


Biden, during a speech paying tribute to Milley at Joint Base Myer-Henderson in Arlington, Virginia, described him as a “patriot, uncompromising in his duty, unflinching in the face of danger and unwavering in his service to the country.” 

“During his tenure as chairman, Mark has been a steady hand guiding our military as we navigate what I would argue is one of the most complex security environments our world has faced in a long time. He’s been critical to strengthen America’s existing alliances from NATO to the Indo-Pacific, to building, to new strategic partnerships like AUKUS keeping our force at a cutting edge in the fields of cyber and space,” Biden said. “Ending America’s longest war and continuing to take terrorists off the battlefield. Standing with the brave people of Ukraine, making sure they have the equipment, the support they need when they need it, to defend their freedom.” 

Biden also said he has been “damn proud” to serve with Milley. 

Milley, prior to being the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, served as the 39th Chief of Staff of the U.S. Army. 


The Massachusetts native graduated from Princeton University in 1980, receiving his commission from Army ROTC, before going on to hold “multiple command and staff positions in six divisions and a Special Forces Group throughout the last 44 years,” a biography by the Department of Defense says. 

“General Milley’s operational deployments include the Multi-National Force and Observers Task Force, Sinai, Egypt; Operation JUST CAUSE, Panama; Operation UPHOLD DEMOCRACY, Haiti; Operation JOINT FORGE, Bosnia-Herzegovina; Operation IRAQI FREEDOM, Iraq; and three tours during Operation ENDURING FREEDOM, Afghanistan. GEN Milley also deployed to Colombia, Somalia and served two years on the DMZ in the Republic of Korea,” it adds. 

Milley and his wife Hollyanne have two children and have been married for more than 38 years. 

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