DoD employees may be furloughed if supplement not passed
July 22, 2010
WASHINGTON (Army News Service, July 22, 2010) -- The Army may need to furlough civilian employees in mid-August and may later run out of money for active-duty pay should Congress fail to pass a wartime supplemental appropriation, said Under Secretary of the Army Joseph W. Westphal.
The under secretaries of the Navy, Air Force and Defense Department also testified during a House Armed Services Committee hearing Thursday that they are running out of money.
A requested $33 billion in additional funding -- the 2010 Wartime Supplemental Appropriation -- has yet to be passed by Congress, leading the Pentagon to develop an Aca,!A"emergency planAca,!A? should the funds not be delivered. Last week Gates said he was disappointed that the supplement was not passed before CongressAca,!a,,c July recess, leaving the services pleading for passage in the few weeks preceding the August break.
Aca,!A"We will run out of money about the middle of August,Aca,!A? explained Joseph W. Westphal, under secretary of the Army.
Westphal said that funds from the ArmyAca,!a,,cs operations and maintenance accounts were being used to front some deficits, but the cash will soon run dry.
Aca,!A"For the Army, the consequences are pretty significant,Aca,!A? urged Westphal. Aca,!A"It is very, very important that before you leave for recess, we have the supplemental approved.Aca,!A?
Aca,!A"Failure to pass the supplemental before the recess would essentially hamstring the departmentAca,!a,,cs operations for the remainder of this year and significantly disrupt operations,Aca,!A? agreed Robert O. Work, under secretary of the Navy.
Work added that without additional funding, the Navy would have to start furloughing civilian employees by mid-August and would run out of money for active-duty Sailors in mid-September.
Aca,!A"If the supplement is not passed, we would be in an emergency situation,Aca,!A? he stressed.
The Department of the Air Force echoed the other servicesAca,!a,,c budgeting concerns, listing similar deadlines for personnel funding.
Mississippi Congressman Gene Taylor voiced his concern that defense assets are being wasted by leaving valuable military equipment behind as Soldiers pull out of Iraq.
Aca,!A"How many times does the Department of Defense need to keep making the same mistake'Aca,!A? asked Taylor rhetorically referring to American gear left behind in Panama that eventually made its way to Cuba.
Commanders in Iraq have been authorized to donate up to $30 million in equipment to their Iraqi counterparts, as the government has deemed it too expensive to ship everything back to the U.S.
Aca,!A"I certainly hope this isnAca,!a,,ct a case where weAca,!a,,cre trying to save a couple of pennies and end up losing American lives Aca,!A| this is a matter of life and death,Aca,!A? Taylor underscored.
The supplement is entangled with a $10 billion add-on designated for education jobs Aca,!"- down from the originally-proposed $23 billion which failed Senate passage in May.
Several House Armed Services Committee members voiced confidence that the appropriation will be passed next week prior to the Aug. 9 recess.