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Supplemental Funds Vital for Reserves, Deployed Troops

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, April 2, 2007 – Army reserve-component training and equipment reset will be immediately affected if an emergency supplemental funding request isn’t signed into law by April 15, Defense Department officials said here today.

Further, there will be serious repercussions for deployed servicemembers if the supplemental funding isn’t approved by May 15, the officials said.

Both the Senate and House bills have passed bills that provide the funding but contain amendments that call for combat troops to be out of Iraq on a certain timetable. President Bush has vowed to veto any bill containing these provisions.

During his weekly radio address March 31, Bush said the bills undercut U.S. troops, and that they “would substitute the judgment of politicians in Washington for that of our generals on the ground.”

He said the bills impose restrictive conditions on U.S. military commanders. “Each bill would also set an arbitrary deadline for surrender and withdrawal in Iraq, and I believe that would have disastrous consequences for our safety here at home,” he said.

The veto pledge echoed remarks the president made in a March 28 speech. “If either version comes to my desk, I'm going to veto it,” the president said to the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association.

Close votes on the bills in each chamber indicate that neither the House nor the Senate would be able to override a presidential veto, DoD legislative affairs officials said.

The Senate is on recess through April 9, and the House is out through April 13. House and Senate negotiators must meet to reconcile the different portions of their respective bills. If the bill contains the withdrawal provision, it is “dead on arrival” at the president’s desk, said White House officials.

With no supplemental funds, the Army will be forced to consider curtailing and suspending home station training for Army Reserve and National Guard units, DoD officials said. The service would slow the training of units slated to deploy next to Iraq and Afghanistan and would cut funding for the upgrade or renovation of barracks and other facilities that support quality of life for troops and their families.

Leaders also would stop the repair of equipment necessary to support pre-deployment training, officials said.

If the supplemental funding is not passed by May 15, the Army would consider reducing depot repair work. The service would delay or curtail the deployment of brigade combat teams for training rotations. This may force the service to extend units in Iraq or Afghanistan, officials said.

No supplemental funding would also delay forming new brigade combat teams, force the service to implement a civilian hiring freeze and prohibit new contracts and service orders officials said.

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Related Articles:
Bush Repeats Call for War Funding Bill With ‘No Strings’
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