Rep. Buck McKeon (R., Calif.) gave a final, emotional speech on the House floor Thursday, thanking his colleagues, staff, and family.
But the Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee had more than thanks to give.
McKeon scolded Congress and President Obama for their failure to repay American servicemen and women for their sacrifices, specifically the budget cuts through sequestration.
"Right now, they are walking patrol in the mountains of Afghanistan," McKeon said.
"They are at sea within missile range of Iran. They are flying wingtip to wingtip against Russia bombers over the North Sea. They are nose-to-nose with the North Koreans. They are sweating in the equatorial heat of Africa, fighting a horrible disease. They are standing on the sand of Iraq, risking everything against a brutal enemy.
"And how we have repaid them? With equipment that is falling apart. By laying them off while they’re off in war zones," McKeon said. "By docking their pay and their medical benefits. By throwing them out of the service and onto a broken economy."
Responsibility for the damage done to our troops falls on Congress and the White House, McKeon said, and it is incumbent upon both Republicans and Democrats to repay our troops.
"Shame on us, if we’re unwilling to pay back the debt we owe them. Shame on all of us, from the White House down, if we cannot make far less a sacrifice on their behalf," McKeon said to his congressional colleagues.
Congress and the White House should compromise to find a solution for sequestration by next year. Both sides of the aisle will have to make sacrifices, and those must match the sacrifices of our service men and women.
"There isn’t some magical solution that Republicans can support and the president can sign without sacrifice on both sides," he said. "When that solution comes, it will be a tough vote on both sides."
"For some of my colleagues, it might be a fatal vote. I pray that you will hold this thought in your hearts when that vote comes: Remember the great sacrifice our troops are making around the world."