A continuing resolution would hurt military readiness, the lawmakers say.
A group of 15 Republican senators earlier this week urged the Trump administration to avoid funding the government in fiscal 2020 through a one-year stopgap spending measure, saying such a strategy would hurt the Defense Department and military readiness.
“A yearlong [continuing resolution] locks in the previous year’s funding, while preventing DoD from reprogramming funds and rationalizing its budget effectively,” said the senators, led by Sen. David Perdue, R-Ga., in a July 3 letter to Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, acting Office of Management and Budget Director Russell Vought, and acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney. “Consequently, this would force DoD to execute a budget over three years old, based on the priorities of the Obama administration that was designed to largely combat insurgency.”
The administration in June floated a one-year continuing resolution as a way to get around an impasse in budget negotiations and keep the government open past Sept. 30. Lawmakers are at a standstill over how to handle automatic budget cuts that would slash defense and non-defense spending by a total of $125 billion in fiscal 2020.
A one-year stopgap bill would delay implementation of President Trump’s defense strategy, the senators said. A continuing resolution would also hurt military training and equipment readiness; jeopardize a 3.1% pay raise for the military; and prevent military depots from hiring workers necessary to maintain vehicles, ships and aircraft, they continued.
They said that in the past 10 years, the Defense Department has never operated under a full-year CR, though it has started nine of those years under a stopgap appropriations bill. This fiscal year marked the first time in the past decade that the department started off with regular appropriations.
“As the world continues to become more dangerous, the American people rightfully expect their representatives in Washington to put aside political differences and do their jobs,” the senators wrote. “Simply put, our adversaries do not handcuff their militaries with funding gimmicks like continuing resolutions — nor should we.”