Congress returned to work this week with their main focus to get the government funded before the end of September.
Concern is growing that Congress could pass a continuing resolution (CR) in this midterm election year instead of fully funding the government in fiscal 2019.
Congress has only 10 legislative days left to do their business before the current fiscal year ends on September 30.
Even though both the House and Senate have moved a number of their defense spending bills faster than they have in decades, they have not gotten over the finish line.
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Given Congress has not successfully passed all of its annual spending bills before the end of the fiscal year since the 1990s, Washington insiders and Congressional Quarterly's John Donnelly, speculate there is a 50/50 chance for a CR to begin FY2019.
Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.), the Chairman of the Senate Appropriations committee, made a statement that took aim at his colleagues in the House. “If the House works with us as expeditiously as we were working, or close to it, we will fund most of the government,” he said. "If they don't, then we will reach an impasse.”
Time on the calendar and competing priorities, such as getting the President's selection for the Supreme Court nominee confirmed, appear to be an even bigger barrier for the Congress in getting their job done this year.
Of major concern to MOAA is the passage of the all-important defense spending legislation that funds the authorizations and policy provisions, to include the 2.6 percent pay raise for the troops, in the FY2019 NDAA signed into law last month by the President.
Both the House and Senate have passed their versions of the defense spending bill and are now moving to complete its final approval before going to the President.
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Defense leaders have been very vocal over the past several years - our services have suffered in terms of readiness, training, and troop support because of successive continuing resolutions passed by Congress instead of full defense spending bills. It is time to appropriate the funds to match the bi-partisan, bicameral defense authorizations signed into law.