Defense Secretary Jim Mattis warned lawmakers against
yet another continuing resolution, claiming another long-term stopgap measure
would take paychecks away from service members and limit the ability to recruit
The current funding for the government expires at 12
a.m. Friday, and House and Senate lawmakers continue to scramble for votes on a
measure to keep the government open. However, Mattis told the House Armed
Services Committee on Tuesday that yet another continuing resolution limits his
ability to move the department forward.
“We are again on the verge of a government shutdown,
or at best, another damaging continuing resolution,” said Mattis, who appeared
before the panel to discuss the military’s National Defense Strategy and
Nuclear Posture Review. “I regret that, without sustained, predictable
appropriation, my presence here wastes your time, because no strategy can
survive … without the funding necessary to resource it.”
For example, under a long-term continuing resolution,
the military will not be able to pay for troops by the end of the fiscal year,
and it will be unable to recruit 4,000 airmen and 15,000 soldiers needed
to fill manning shortfalls. Aircraft will be grounded due to a lack of
maintenance and spare parts, and ammunition stockpiles will be depleted.
“To advance the security of our nation, these troops
are putting themselves in harm’s way, in effect, signing a blank check payable
to the American people with their lives,” he said. “They do so despite
Congress’s abrogation of its constitutional responsibility to provide
sufficient, stable funding.”
Posture Review, released Friday, outlines modernization plans for the
Pentagon to maintain a credible deterrent. This includes $700 million to
modernize the triad to keep it viable 20 to 30 years in the future, Vice
Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Paul Selva told the panel. The review assumes the Pentagon “will receive
timely, predictable, and sufficient funding to execute,” he said.
The House of Representatives on Tuesday evening
was preparing to vote for a bill that would provide $659 billion in funding for the military, essentially the full-year Fiscal 2018 amount, while providing a continuing resolution-level funding for the rest of
the government until March 23. However, even if approved, the measure faces heavy opposition in the Senate, where Democrats are pushing for equal increases in defense and non-defense spending.
Despite this, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell
(R-Ky.) told reporters that he and Democratic leader Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.)
are “on the way to getting an agreement ...
President Trump, however, directly called for a shutdown during a White House meeting on immigration on Tuesday.
“I’d love to see a shutdown if we don’t get this stuff taken care of,” he said.
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