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England Calls on Congress to Pass Funding Quickly

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, May 16, 2008 – The deputy secretary of defense called on Congress to act quickly to pass the fiscal 2008 supplemental legislation for the war on terror.

In a May 15 letter, Gordon England told Congress the legislation is urgent and needed before the House and Senate recess for Memorial Day.

“Absent additional Congressional action, the Army will run out of military personnel funds by mid-June and operation and maintenance funds by early July,” England said in the letter.

Civilian personnel funding and money for the Commander’s Emergency Response Program also is included in the operations-and-maintenance accounts.

“CERP funding is a critical enabler that our ground force commanders are using on a daily basis in Iraq and Afghanistan to shape the strategic environment,” England wrote.

Without quick action, the program runs dry in mid-June.

If the supplemental funding is not passed by Memorial Day, DoD officials will submit to Congress two reprogramming actions on May 27. “These reprogramming actions for personnel and for O&M accounts will finance Army operations until late July by borrowing money from other services,” England said. “By that point in late July, the entire department will be in extremes, having exhausted all avenues of funding and will be unable to make payroll for both military and civilian personnel throughout the department.

“Servicemembers, including those engaged in Iraq and Afghanistan, would continue to serve, but without pay since military personnel accounts would be exhausted.”

Other actions also will become necessary, including civilian furloughs, reduction to essential activities and limits to nonessential operations.

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