Sunday, September 18, 2016

Congress about to cause a series of 3 quarterly funding disasters for American public

... "The military services basically write off any major planning for the first quarter of the fiscal year due to Congress’ inability to pass appropriations bills on time, Chief of Naval Operations Adm. John Richardson told the Senate Armed Services Committee during a Sept. 15 hearing.

Richardson’s revelation comes as the military is bracing for the possibility of another long term continuing resolution for 2017. It is almost a certainty that Congress will pass at least a short term resolution to keep the government running when the 2016 fiscal year ends at the end of September.
For all but one of the past eight years, the military services have dealt with the uncertainty of a long-term continuing resolution, Richardson said.

“Behaviors have modified to adapt to the reality of the last eight years. Big programs that require authorities for new starts, those are all prohibited in a continuing resolution environment and so rather than put those programs in the first quarter and put them all at risk, we just live in a three-quarter year and that first quarter is a light touch on just trying to keep things going,” Richardson said.

Other military service chiefs testified that the inability to plan ahead and a truncated fiscal year lead to the services wasting money on contacts...."

"... House Armed Services member Rep. Adam Kinzinger, R-Ill., said a short-term continuing resolution was the best among “a host of bad options” because it avoids a shutdown and gives lawmakers an opportunity to work out appropriations over the post-Nov. 8 election “lame duck” session.   

“It gives us a shot at getting a shot at some regular order, maybe a minibus or two—maybe defense—and CR-ing the rest,” Kinzinger said. “The minibus thing is probably where you’d probably get the most people in agreement and some success.”

Senate and House Armed Services Committee leaders are in negotiations to reconcile each chamber’s versions of the 2017 National Defense Authorization Act, where the biggest sticking point is the House bill’s diversion of $18 billion in wartime overseas contingency operations funding for troops and equipment. 

Thornberry, on Friday, signaled the NDAA negotiations on defense spending authorization could influence negotiations on a defense appropriations bill. 

“We try to stay together with the authorization and appropriations, so I guess, yeah,” Thornberry said.

Thornberry said he favors finalizing the NDAA before the end of September, and quipped the number of sessions to negotiate the bill, “depends on how long they’ll take to agree with me.”  

-bth: So what does this mean?  It means that to avoid a full government shutdown at the end of September the do-nothing Congress is going to pass a short-term continuing resolution into December, just past the elections. Billions of dollars of unnecessary waste will occur because of this which could have been used for healthcare or education or bridges. Instead the entire federal government will twittle its thumbs during this period. Then just after the election we will find out that the administration and congress swept under the carpet a giant funding gap emerging in health insurance.  So after a staged debate in December a continuing resolution or some sort of 9 month funding will allow both defense and health insurance to go forward in some grand compromise.  But then by April we will face a new crisis as the Operational Contingencies fund was only funded for 6 months which means soldiers in the field in Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan will suddenly find no funding support which will result in another Ryan orchestrated budget crisis right as folks file their income taxes.

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