SecDef: Continuing Resolution ‘Unwise’ for Military

Washington Report

(August 22, 2017) Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said the military will suffer if Congress fails to pass a fiscal 2018 budget by the end of next month and relies instead on another continuing resolution.

“It just creates unpredictability. It makes us rigid. We cannot deal with new and revealing threats,” he told reporters last week at the Pentagon. “We know our enemies are not standing still.”

Congress has failed to meet the budget deadline of Sept. 30, the end of the fiscal year, for five years, passing instead continuing resolutions that maintain the previous year’s budget. This prevents the start of new programs and causes uncertainty for the defense industry.

Mattis said another CR, as they are called, would be “about as unwise as can be.”

Despite his concerns, he is likely to see another one. Congress returns to the nation’s capital next month from August recess with only three weeks to debate and pass the budget for both defense and nondefense spending.

Lawmakers also have expressed interest in addressing tax reform and a massive infrastructure bill, giving them a very full plate before the fiscal year ends Sept. 30.

Plus, President Donald Trump and both chambers of Congress favor defense budgets that exceed federal spending limits, which for defense is $549 billion. Democrats and Republicans would have to agree to set aside the caps.