"Instead of listening to the Democratic Party's extreme fringe, Sen. Reid should listen to the Generals who have made clear the consequences facing our military if Democrats in Congress continue to play politics instead of passing an emergency troops funding bill the President can sign."
– White House Deputy Press Secretary Dana Perino, 4/3/07
Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV): The President's "own Generals have said [funding] will last until the end of June." (Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV), Press Conference, 4/3/07)
But our military leadership has made clear our troops immediately need emergency supplemental funds.
Army Chief of Staff Gen. Peter J. Schoomaker and Acting Secretary of the Army Pete Geren: "We are particularly concerned as Congress is set to recess until mid-April without enacting this essential legislation. Without approval of the supplemental funds in April, we will be forced to take increasingly draconian measures which will impact Army readiness and impose hardships on our soldiers and their families." (Gen. Peter J. Schoomaker and Pete Geren, Letter To Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), 3/28/07)
Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen.Peter Pace: After mid-April, "the Army has told us that they will have to begin curtailing some training here at home for Guard, Reserve, and for units, which means that the baseline for those units will be reduced as far as their capability, and when they're called, it will take them longer to be ready and could, over time, delay their availability to go back into combat." (Committee On Appropriations, Defense Subcommittee, U.S. House Of Representatives, Hearing, 3/29/07)
President Bush Discusses The Importance Of Funding Our Troops
President Bush: "If Congress fails to act in the next few weeks, it will have significant consequences for our men and women in the Armed Forces." "As the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Pace, recently stated during his testimony before a House subcommittee, if Congress fails to pass a bill I can sign by mid-April, the Army will be forced to consider cutting back on equipment, equipment repair, and quality of life initiatives for our Guard and reserve forces. These cuts would be necessary because the money will have to be shifted to support the troops on the front lines."(President George W. Bush, Statement On The Emergency Supplemental, The White House, 4/3/07)
President Bush: "The Army also would be forced to consider curtailing some training for Guard and reserve units here at home. This would reduce their readiness and could delay their availability to mobilize for missions in Afghanistan and Iraq."
President Bush: "If Congress fails to pass a bill I can sign by mid-May, the problems grow even more acute." "The Army would be forced to consider slowing or even freezing funding for its depots, where the equipment our troops depend on is repaired. They will also have to consider delaying or curtailing the training of some active duty forces, reducing the availability of these forces to deploy overseas. If this happens, some of the forces now deployed in Afghanistan and Iraq may need to be extended because other units are not ready to take their places. If Congress does not act, the Army may also have to delay the formation of new brigade combat teams, preventing us from getting those troops into the pool of forces that are available to deploy. If these new teams are unavailable, we would have to ask other units to extend into the theater." (President George W. Bush, Statement On The Emergency Supplemental, The White House, 4/3/07)
Delays Are Already Impacting Troops And Readiness
Last week, the Defense Department notified Congress that in order to meet the force protection needs of the Marine Corps and the Army, it is borrowing funds from other important Marine and Army procurement programs. This borrowing means using funding intended for medium tactical vehicle replacement, Humvees and Humvee equipment, the tactical communications modernization program, and upgrades for other vehicles.
This reprogramming of funds is only necessary because Congress has failed to act in a timely manner on the president's emergency funding request. This underscores the need to get the President a bill he can sign that accomplishes what the troops and military commanders need.