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Congressional Action Could Delay Furloughs, But Full War Funding Still Needed

By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Dec. 19, 2007 – It’s too soon to start celebrating the Senate’s action yesterday to add $70 billion for Iraq war funding to the omnibus spending bill, the Pentagon press secretary told reporters today.

The action, which needs approval by the House and President Bush, could delay the need for the Defense Department to furlough civilian employees, but still won’t provide full war funding, Geoff Morrell said.

“Clearly, we are encouraged by some of the signs we have seeing on the Hill, a recognition that our needs are serious, are great, and our troops need to be funded as they are in war,” Morrell said during a Pentagon news briefing. “So we very much appreciate the efforts being made, and we are encouraged by the progress that has been made.”

Passage “would at least, for the time being, eliminate the need to go down the road of furloughing anybody,” he said. “But that’s an ‘if’ at this point.”

Morrell was quick to point out that “nothing is done yet” and that DoD must “continue to plan for life with no money.”

“Until such time as this is a done deal, I think everybody in this building is proceeding with the very real business of preparing for the eventuality of running out of money,” he said.

Even with passage of the funding, the measure still falls short of what’s needed to fund the global war on terror completely, he said.

It would be “merely a temporary solution to our larger problem of gaining full funding for the global war on terror,” he said. “We will gladly take whatever bridge funding comes our way, … but we will also continue to pursue full funding for our war efforts.”

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