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Congress OKs Resolution to Fund Ops Through Oct. 21

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Sept. 29, 1999 – Congress has passed a continuing resolution that would fund the federal government at fiscal 1999 rates through Oct. 21 while legislators continue work on fiscal 2000 appropriations bills.

Congress sent the continuing resolution to the White House for President Clinton's signature. Fiscal Year 2000 starts Oct. 1. Without the resolution, the government would be forced to shut down. If legislators cannot agree on the appropriations bills by Oct. 21, they must pass another resolution to keep the government running.

The continuing resolution does not allow federal agencies to start any new projects. Since military and civilian pay raises do not start until Jan. 1, 2000, pay checks for service members and DoD civilians would not be affected unless a deadlock occurs and extends past New Year's Day.

Thirteen appropriation bills fund the federal government. Only one -- the military construction bill -- has been signed into law. President Clinton signed that bill Aug. 17.

The House and Senate have passed their versions of the fiscal 2000 defense appropriations bill. Senate and House members are in conference to hash out differences in the two bills. Once the conference is finished the full House and Senate must approve the bill. If it is approved it then goes to the president for signature.

Defense Secretary William S. Cohen wrote to the chairmen of the Senate and House Appropriations Committees' defense subcommittees to air departmental concerns. Heading his list was the House's deleting funds for the Air Force's F-22 Raptor air superiority fighter.

"A failure now to fund initial procurement of the F-22 fighter would cause devastating disruption of acquisition contracts and add up to $6 billion to the cost of our planned program," Cohen wrote. He indicated he supports the Senate program that fully funds the F-22 within a constrained program.

Cohen said other cuts Congress contemplates would unduly affect operations and maintenance accounts. He asked conferees to sustain funding for DoD modernization programs. Specifics he cited include the AIM-9X missile, the Global Hawk unmanned aerial vehicle, Global Positioning System, Joint Stand-off Weapons and theater ballistic missile defense projects.

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