MILITARY FACILITY NEAR THE SYRIAN BORDER (CNN) - Vice President Mike Pence told US service members on Sunday that immigration talks between lawmakers and the White House couldn't proceed until the government reopens.
"We're going to demand they reopen the government," Pence told American servicemen at a US airbase here on the Syria-Jordan border. "In fact, we're not going to reopen negotiations on illegal immigration until they reopen the government and give you, our soldiers, and your families the benefits and wages you've earned."
Pence was addressing the 332nd Air Expeditionary Wing, which delivers much of the ammunition being used in Operation Inherent Resolve, the US military campaign against ISIS. CNN has withheld the name and location of the military facility for security purposes.
Speaking before an American flag and camouflaged tarpaulins, Pence told the crowd that President Donald Trump stood behind them and would work to ensure their pay continues uninterrupted as the government enters the second day of a shutdown.
"Despite bipartisan support for a budget resolution, a minority in the Senate has decided to play politics with military pay, but you deserve better," he said. "You and your families shouldn't have to worry for one minute about whether you're going to get paid as you serve in the uniform of the United States."
Pence, who flew to the military facility with his wife, second lady Karen Pence, aboard a C-17 military jumbo jet, praised the troops' service in helping combat Islamic State fighters in nearby Syria.
"Because of your courage and valor and professionalism, we are driving the evil of ISIS from the face of the earth," Pence said, later adding: "We will be finished with ISIS very soon."