McCain & Reed Request Information from DOD on Effects of Continuing Resolution

Washington, D.C. ­– U.S. Senators John McCain (R-AZ) and Jack Reed (D-RI), Chairman and Ranking Member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, this week sent a letter to Department of Defense Secretary James Mattis requesting specific information about the ramifications of beginning fiscal year 2018 on a continuing resolution.

“It is long past time for Congress and the White House to begin serious negotiations on a budget deal,” said Chairman McCain. “If we do not, the Department of Defense will begin the next fiscal year on a continuing resolution with spending constrained by the Budget Control Act cap. We know from previous testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee that continuing resolutions have significant negative impacts on our military. If this is the path Congress decides to take, we must know the consequences we are choosing for our men and women in uniform.”

“For months, Senate Democrats have called for a bipartisan budget agreement on defense and domestic spending,” said Ranking Member Reed. “A continuing resolution serves the important purpose of keeping the government running, but as Chairman McCain points out, it could mean real problems for Department of Defense and other agencies. It is high time for the Trump Administration to actually start governing and work on a bipartisan basis to resolve the budget.”

The letter is below and attached.

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Dear Secretary Mattis:

With the beginning of fiscal year 2018 quickly approaching, Congress and the White House have yet to begin serious consideration of a budget that will allow passage of appropriations bills to fund the federal government. Absent this budget agreement, no spending for any federal department or agency will be allowed to surpass the discretionary caps set by the Budget Control Act. In practice, this will result in billions of dollars in cuts to the defense budget from last year's level – cuts that the Department of Defense can ill afford at a time of diminished readiness, strained modernization, and increasing operations.

Given the limited remaining work period for both the House and Senate prior to October 1st, and the difficulties of negotiating and enacting a major bipartisan budget agreement, it is very likely that the federal government will begin the fiscal year on a continuing resolution yet again. The duration of the continuing resolution is yet to be determined. It may range from days to months. Regardless of its length, a continuing resolution will have to be at the Budget Control Act cap levels or below.

Military leaders have time and again warned members of the Senate Armed Services Committee about the negative impacts of starting each fiscal year on a continuing resolution. As the Senate prepares to consider a continuing resolution for fiscal year 2018, we believe it would be prudent to have a concrete understanding of its impacts on the military. Therefore, we ask that you provide the committee members with an in-depth list of impacts on the military--including military branches, defense-wide agencies, and combatant commands--for a 3-month and a 6-month continuing resolution. Please provide such information by September 8, 2017. 

Sincerely,

John McCain

United States Senator

Jack Reed

United States Senator

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