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Congressional Action Frees Up Funds for Military Pay, Operations

By Gerry J. Gilmore
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, June 11, 2008 – The Defense Department will now be able to pay its troops and civilians through the end of next month, thanks to budgetary-related actions approved by Congress, a senior Pentagon spokesman told reporters here today.

“We will now be able to pay our troops until the end of July,” Pentagon Press Secretary Geoff Morrell told reporters.

In addition, operations-and-maintenance accounts will now remain solvent until mid-July, he said.

The Pentagon received permission from Congress to move money from Air Force and Navy personnel accounts to Army personnel accounts “so that we would be able to pay our soldiers longer,” Morrell said. Other monies, he noted, were transferred to provide pay for defense civilians.

Morrell emphasized that the Defense Department still requires the $102 billion contained in the supplemental funding bill that’s now being debated on Capitol Hill.

“We still face a very grave situation if we don’t get the remainder of our supplemental funding,” Morrell pointed out.

Deputy Defense Secretary Gordon England sent a memorandum to all departments earlier this week, asking them for contingency planning for a possible shutdown in case the money doesn’t come through, Morrell said.

Meanwhile, “we’ll be able to do everything we now do until mid-July; we’ll be able to pay all our men and women in uniform, as we now do, until the end of July,” Morrell said.

The department won’t know until June 30 what kinds of additional measures it may have to take if the supplemental funding isn’t passed by then, Morrell said.

Yet, senior defense officials remain confident and hopeful, Morrell said, that Congress will pass the supplemental funds so the department can continue its operations.

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