With less than three weeks to go before the current continuing resolution runs out, President Trump has so far refused to pledge to sign a new agreement to prevent a potential government shutdown.
Speaking to reporters Nov. 3, Trump said his commitment is contingent upon the deal that lawmakers work out.
“I wouldn’t commit to anything. It depends on what the negotiation is,” he said Sunday on the White House’s South Lawn upon his return from New York.
Senior Democratic and Republican leaders continue work to hash out a fiscal year 2020 budget agreement that could reach consensus in both the House and Senate, but officials and sources on Capitol Hill have repeatedly said that a successful deal would require the White House’s approval to move forward.
Lawmakers approved a continuing resolution through Nov. 21 to make progress on a deal. The Senate passed several non-defense and homeland security-related FY ’20 appropriations deals last week, while a second attempt to pass the defense and energy and water bills failed (Defense Daily, Oct. 31). Leaders including Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.), the chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee, have sounded warning calls that a full-year continuing resolution may yet occur.
House minority leaders including Rep. Mac Thornberry (R-Texas), the ranking member of the House Armed Services Committee, Rep. Kay Granger (R-Texas), ranking member of the House Appropriations Committee, and Rep. Steve Womack (R-Ark.), ranking member of the House Budget Committee, similarly sounded the alarm in a joint press release Nov. 4.
“We are facing global threats to our interests and our allies. Our highest priority should be keeping the government functioning and the Defense Department fully funded,” Granger said in the statement. “We cannot afford to short-change our troops or create unnecessary uncertainty for the Department of Defense.”
The lawmakers laid out examples of a full-year CR’s impact on military readiness, to include: forcing the Navy to cancel 14 ship maintenance periods, cancel ship underway training, and limit operations of the deployed fleet, as well as reducing the number of munitions the Air Force can procure in FY ’20.
“When the Army and Air Force are able to resume rebuilding the stockpile, it is likely these weapons will be more expensive and much of the progress made over the past two years in ramping up the munitions industrial base will be erased,” the statement said. The Navy would also be unable to expand “needed production increases in Tomahawk missiles, torpedoes, and other critical weapons.”
A year-long CR would also prohibit procurement of a variety of systems across the services including mobile air and missile defense systems, long-range precision munitions such as hypersonic weapons and extended range artillery, next-generation combat vehicles, advanced helicopters and aircraft, improved night vision devices, and improved sensor and network technology. A year-long CR would also prohibit development of unmanned surface vessels, future ship designs, and artificial intelligence development, the lawmakers warned.