December 05, 2017

Congress, cut the continuing resolutions so Defense can do its job

By Susanna V. Blume and Lauren Fish

As we once again find ourselves hurtling towards the expiration of yet another continuing resolution at the end of this week, with no long-term budget deal in sight, it seems an opportune time to review the very real harms to the nation’s safety done by Congress’s inability to perform its most basic Article 1 function — appropriating funds to run the government — on time or with any semblance of predictability.

Democrats and Republicans agree that the 2011 Budget Control Act has been a failure, and that Congress should return to regular order in the budget process. We — a Democrat (and former Pentagon hand) and a Republican (and former Hill staffer) — represent this bipartisan consensus. While we do not necessarily agree on how big the defense budget should be, we both believe that national security requires stability and predictability in defense budgeting.

The Department of Defense has received an average of $23.6 billion less in the base budget per year since the 2011 Budget Control Act caps took effect in fiscal year 2013.  In theory, the Budget Control Act should have at least provided stability in exchange for this significant reduction in funding.  By creating annual caps on defense discretionary spending, the DOD would at least know how much money it could expect year to year.

Read the full commentary in The Hill.

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