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Army Stuck With Another Five Days of Temporary Funding

Friday, December 11, 2015

Still unable to reach bipartisan agreement on the $1.1 trillion appropriations bill needed to fully fund the federal government next year, lawmakers are giving themselves until Wednesday, Dec. 16, to try to reach a compromise.

The deal they are working on would give the Army about $142 billion for the fiscal year that began Oct. 1, plus provide the Defense Department with $73.5 billion for overseas contingency funds.

This seven-day extension of temporary funding avoids a partial government shutdown on Dec. 11.

Military officials are not happy with the delay, but there is not much they can do. Differences over defense spending were resolved on Nov. 2, when President Barack Obama signed the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015 that raised caps on military budgets. Most of the remaining disagreements involve non-defense policy issues.

Defense Secretary Ash Carter has warned that temporary spending bills are bad for the military.

“At a time when our security environment demands a dynamic and agile military, it is vital that negotiations on Capitol Hill arrive at an agreement to fund all of government for the remainder of the fiscal year, consistent with the funding levels set in the budget agreement achieved earlier this year,” Carter said in a statement. “Further delaying such funding will do real harm.”

Temporary funding, Carter said, “is a straitjacket for the Department of Defense. It prevents us from fielding a modern, ready force in a balanced way, while embracing reform to ensure that every taxpayer dollar is well spent. It harms our ability to ensure the lasting defeat of ISIL and to confront the many complex national security challenges around the world. Failure to act sends the wrong message to our troops, our allies and our enemies.”