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Policy Update: Continuing Resolutions and the DoD

Congress is currently in a District Work Period, which gives us time to stay close to home and have in-depth interactions with our constituents across our district. However, once Congress resumes session in Washington, we will have some necessary work to complete. A new fiscal year begins on October 1st, and before then, we must pass an Appropriations package that keeps the necessary functions of our government running.

As an Appropriator, I am proud of the progress we made this year – all twelve of the Appropriations bills passed the full Appropriations Committee. Starting with Military Construction and Veterans Affairs bill and ending with the Interior and Environment bill, the whole House passed five of these bills and sent them to the Senate for consideration.

This is important works. It demonstrates the House’s agreement on what the final spending package should look like, on what cuts need to be made, and on what priorities need to be funded. Without agreement between the House and Senate on what each new bill should look like, Continuing Resolutions (CR) occur – meaning necessary cuts and changes aren’t made to federal discretionary spending, but rather Congress rubber-stamps the exact same spending levels as last fiscal year.

Since I began my work in Congress in 2011, the gridlock that plagues Washington has resulted in a series of stops and starts to the federal government in a hodgepodge of Continuing Resolutions and Omnibus spending bills. While it may appear that the two are interchangeable, a CR is damaging to our essential government functions and our nation as a whole. CRs prevent new projects from starting on time – from roads to bridge repairs to community centers and Corps of Engineers projects – and ultimately make these projects more costly. And important cuts or funding limitations, like reductions in the Environmental Protection Agency budget or bans on new and harmful regulations, simply don’t go into effect.  

As a member of the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee, I am particularly concerned for the passage of the Defense Appropriations bill that is vital to keep the Pentagon running and our soldiers abroad taken care of for the next fiscal year. The $576 billion-dollar bill funds all functions of our military, from troop paychecks to tanks to equipment, and passed the House on June 16th. The Senate version of the bill has yet to reach the Senate floor, which means both chambers have their work cut out for them in September. A CR impacts the Department of Defense (DoD) perhaps the most of all agencies due to the complexity of the DoD’s budget and programs; impacting everything from deployments to troop pay to maintenance to weapons and platform upgrades, a CR could be the difference between our troops going into harm’s way poorly trained or operating dangerous equipment.

As a Defense Appropriator and a National Guard veteran, I believe it is unacceptable that congressional gridlock and politics should stop us from providing for our military, and I will be working hard with my colleagues to complete our work on these bills before the end of the fiscal year.

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