FORT HOOD, Texas — The Guillen family said they need all the support they can get because if they do not get the Pay Go rule waived by Monday, the bill will not be passed.
Thursday marks one year since the #IAmVanessaGuillenAct was introduced in Congress, but legislation is still in limbo.
“We’re not against the Army. Vanessa enjoyed serving. It gets to me that we’re doing this, and it’s not being done,” said Vanessa Guillen's sister Mayra Guillen.
Vanessa Guillen’s family have even worked with lawmakers to reintroduce the bill this year but so far the outcome has remained the same.
Vanessa’s sister Marya believes Congress is not taking the bill seriously, which leaves other service members in harm's way.
“I feel like there’s no step of accountability dealing with the DOD. They are never gonna do anything about it. There’s been all these courses and training but nothing has changed,” said Guillen.
Now the family and their attorney are taking a new approach by trying to add the bill to the Nation Defense Authorization Act.
“It’s a smart legislative tactic to take a standalone bill like this and try to attach it to a giant must-pass bill. We have to fund the military and a bill like that is going to garner support,” said Baylor University Associate Professor of Political Science Dr. Patrick Flavin.
However, time is of the essence. The bill needs to be added to the NDAA by Monday or it could be halted by the pay-go rule, which requires new legislation not to increase the federal budget deficit or reduce the surplus.
That's why the Find Vanessa Guillen page posted on Facebook to ask people to call Nancy Pelosi’s office to recommend she waive the rule.
“It’s a rule that Congress imposes on itself. Congress routinely, especially when the majority wants to pass the legislation, doesn’t want to pay for it they’ll just waive the rule,” said Dr. Flavin.
“I have my faith that everything will go accordingly. Otherwise, I feel like everything is going to be in vain,” said Guillen.
Political experts say the pay go rule is regularly exempted. Mayra said if the rule does not get passed by the deadline they will have to find other ways to re-introduce the bill and start the process all over again.