Author Topic: Budget Showdown  (Read 1072 times)

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Offline tomahawk6

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Budget Showdown
« on: April 12, 2007, 20:17:03 »
We in the US will see a bruising political battle pitting the administration vs democrats over the war funding supplimental. Here is an interesting gambit that the administartion may employ.
Gates: Use Navy, Air Force money to fund war
By Rick Maze - Staff writer
Posted : Thursday Apr 12, 2007 18:34:45 EDT

With a showdown coming between the White House and Congress over funding for the war in Iraq, the Pentagon has tried to raise the ante by threatening to raid the Air Force and Navy personnel budgets to help cover Army operating costs.

The transfer of $800 million from each the Air Force and Navy into the Army operating budget is aimed at giving the Bush administration and congressional leaders more time to work out a compromise over $105 billion in emergency funding to cover war-related expenses for operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The main obstacle is language — insisted upon by Democratic leaders in Congress — that would set a timetable for withdrawing most U.S. troops from Iraq.

If Congress approved the money shift, the Air Force and Navy could have to delay reassignment moves, withhold or reduce bonuses and incentive pays, and delay promotions so the Army could continuing carrying out military operations, congressional aides said. How dire the situation might get would depend on when and if the money is replaced.

In an April 11 letter to Congress, first reported by Congress Daily, Defense Secretary Robert Gates said the transfer is needed by mid-May to avoid drastic consequences for the Army, to include slowing or stopping training rotations for deploying units, depot maintenance on equipment and even the formation of transformed brigades.

Already, the Army is canceling supply orders, freezing civilian hires and releasing temporary employees, postponing new contracts, and canceling nonessential travel — including conferences, Gates said in the letter.

The $1.6 billion transfer, combined with other cost-cutting moves, would buy the military another two months for an agreement to be worked out on the supplemental funding bill.

A Navy spokesman, Lt. Bashon Mann, said Gate’s proposal would take money that the Navy would have spent in the fourth quarter of the fiscal year, which begins in July. The Navy would get the money back once a supplemental is approved, he said, noting the same process was used last year to pay for tsunami relief operations in Asia.

The request to take money from the Navy and Air Force to pay for ongoing operations is one of two reprogramming proposals before Congress. Already pending is a proposal to shift another $1.7 billion between various accounts.

Staff writer Mark Faram contributed to this report.