(National Sentinel) Aiding the Enemy: The House on Tuesday voted along party lines to pass another continuing resolution rather than a full-on budget, though the measure did include $700 billion for the Defense Department for the remaining fiscal year that ends Sept. 30.
However, Democratic leaders in the Senate have already proclaimed the bill “dead on arrival” because it doesn’t contain funding increases for domestic spending programs.
“House Republicans continue marching down a very partisan road, proposing a [bill] that will raise defense spending but leave everything else behind,” Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said, “and as I have said many times before, a CRomnibus will not pass the Senate. Speaker [Paul] Ryan and House Republicans keep running into the same brick wall.”
“Republicans must stop governing from manufactured crisis to crisis, and work with Democrats to pass the many urgent, long overdue priorities of the American people,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said, blaming Ryan as well.
Republicans have been working towards passage of full budget, but have gotten no help at all from Democrats. That much is evident by the party line votes.
And while Republicans in the House can pass a fully funded federal budgeting legislation, they need Democratic support in the Senate where a 60-vote majority is required to approve legislation.
Republicans currently hold a slight 51-49 majority in the upper chamber; Democrats repeatedly refused to support fully funded annual spending bills throughout the Obama administration and continuing their obstinance in the Trump presidency.
Continuing resolutions keep government bureaucracies open, but they have dramatically harmed military readiness, as the Pentagon and top service chiefs have repeatedly testified before various congressional committees for years.
Defense officials say the services cannot plan ahead to develop and buy new and upgraded weapons systems without reliable annual funding. They also note that it is difficult to retain the defense industrial base because contractors leave the sector to find other forms of revenue.
As such, the service chiefs and top defense officials have argued that the CRs are hurting national security, but Democrats don’t seem to be getting the message.
The point was made again Tuesday during an appearance before the House Armed Services Committee by Secretary of Defense James Mattis, who said that without reliable funding for the Pentagon, Congress was “abrogating its responsibility to provide reliable funding” to the military.
“Our military remains capable, but our competitive edge has eroded in every domain of warfare—air, land, sea, space, and cyber. Under frequent continuing resolutions and sequester’s budget caps, our advantages continue to shrink. The combination of rapidly changing technology, the negative impact on military readiness resulting from the longest continuous stretch of combat in our nation’s history, and insufficient funding have created an overstretched and under-resourced military,” he said.
“Let me be clear: as hard as the last 16 years of war have been, no enemy in the field has done more to harm the readiness of the U.S. military than the combined impact of the Budget Control Act’s defense spending caps, worsened by operating in 10 of the last 11 years under continuing resolutions of varied and unpredictable duration,” Mattis added.
Added Speaker Ryan: “The only reason we do not have a full budget agreement is because Democrats continue to hold funding for our government hostage over an unrelated issue.”
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