Delay Means Disaster: Servicemembers, Military Families Need Budget Fix Now

Delay Means Disaster: Servicemembers, Military Families Need Budget Fix Now
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As another continuing resolution (CR) makes its way through Congress, allowing the government to limp forward without a full budget well into the fiscal year, MOAA again needs your support to ensure your lawmakers realize the damage these delays are doing to military readiness and the quality of life of those in uniform and their families.


This effort takes on greater importance as the specter of a full-year CR has risen. The ripple effects of such a move would cost DoD billions of dollars, cripple budget planning, delay or destroy any gains made to your benefits through recent authorization legislation, and cause immediate headaches for servicemembers and the wider uniformed services community.


[TAKE ACTION: Write Your Legislators Today]


How We Got Here

On Sept. 30, 2021, the president signed into law a continuing resolution (CR) to finance the government in FY 2022 at the previous year’s levels, but only through Dec. 3, 2021. Given all the controversial politics and polarizing issues, many on the Hill and others in town knew this was not enough time for both sides to see a way forward beyond the holidays.


On Dec. 3, Congress faced the deadline with no clear way forward. Those who thought two months was not enough time to generate an enduring solution were proven right. As such, Congress pushed the same CR solution through to the president, who signed just in time to again extend previous year’s funding, this time to Feb. 18, 2022.


And here we are again.


On Feb. 8, the House passed their Further Additional Extending Government Funding Act (H.R. 6617) by a vote of 272-162. The Senate has yet to weigh in, but it is likely to pass given the importance of avoiding a government shutdown. The signals from the Hill and news outlets still indicate an enduring solution is no closer than before – even including talks about a possible CR to extend through the rest of this fiscal year.  


Defense leaders already have been testifying and speaking openly about the damage a yearlong CR would cause. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin outlined some of these challenges in a Dec. 6 statement, mentioning the potential for a yearlong CR and noting the measures DoD would have to consider to pay for the 2.7% pay raise and BAH increases. Mitigating measures include reducing PCS moves, limiting new recruits, and delaying more than 100 military construction projects in support of servicemembers’ quality of life. Each service chief has indicated similar impacts decrementing their mission to organize, train, and equip the force.


A yearlong CR would be “an unprecedented move that would cause enormous, if not irreparable, damage for a wide range of bipartisan priorities – from defense readiness and modernization, to research and development, to public health,” Austin said in the statement.


Make Your Voice Heard

MOAA remains concerned Congress will remain focused on party priorities and the upcoming midterm elections, resisting their responsibility to come together to fully fund our government. The result could possibly wipe out the entire fiscal year’s budget increases they determined were needed for FY 2022.


It is imperative you let your legislators know we cannot sit by while their work remains unaccomplished.


Please contact your elected officials using MOAA’s toll-free congressional hotline, 1-866-272-6622, to share this important message, or use this link to our Legislative Action Center to send a letter to their offices.


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About the Author

Col. Dan Merry, USAF (Ret)
Col. Dan Merry, USAF (Ret)

Merry earned his commission in 1989 through AFROTC and commanded DoD’s Port Mortuary at Dover AFB, Del. He has served in multiple overseas conflicts since the 1990s and has served as the Vice President of Government Relations since August 2016.