Senate Armed Services Committee leadership want fellow lawmakers to be very aware of the affects an incomplete fiscal 2018 budget will have on the military.
Sens. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Jack Reed (D-R.I.), the committee’s chairman and ranking member, on Tuesday asked Defense Secretary James Mattis to prepare a list of the damage a three- and a six-month continuing resolution would have on the Pentagon.
A continuing resolution, which freezes current funding levels and prevents any new programs from starting, “will result in billion 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,” the senators wrote in a letter released Wednesday.
McCain and Reed want the list by Sept. 8, saying “we believe it would be prudent to have a concrete understanding” of a continuing resolution’s impact on military branches, defensewide agencies and combatant commands.
Lawmakers return from August recess next week to tackle the fiscal 2018 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) before the 2017 budget expires on Sept. 30.
The Senate is expected to consider the NDAA shortly after it returns.
“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 two wrote.
Mattis has said that passing a continuing resolution is “about as unwise as can be,” because frozen spending levels affect military readiness.