June 19, 2008
Rep. Marsha Blackburn (TN-7) today hailed the passage of the Department of Defense supplemental appropriation bill. The compromise language will deliver the resources troops in harm’s way urgently need without restricting their ability to pursue victory in Iraq and Afghanistan. The agreement comes after months of grandstanding that forced the Pentagon to plan for the real possibility of civilian layoffs and suspension of pay to our men and women in uniform.
“Passage of this funding is a victory for our troops, their families, and commanders in the field. It is a signal that Democrats have finally accepted the situation on the ground and embraced the progress our troops have achieved. I hope that this is the last time we have to fight to have a surrender mandate removed from funding for the troops.”
Tennessee’s 7th District is home to Ft. Campbell, one of the Army’s largest posts and the 101st Airborne Division. Currently, the bulk of the 101st Airborne, as well as over 700 Tennessee National Guardsmen, are deployed to Iraq or Afghanistan. A June 9, 2008 memo from Deputy Secretary of Defense Gordon England ominously directed the military services to plan for the exhaustion of DoD funds as a result of delayed supplemental funding. The memo stated “Military personnel will serve without pay until such time as appropriated funds are available to compensate them for this period of service… Civilian employees [of DoD] not engaged in exempt activities will be furloughed, i.e., placed in a non-work, non-pay status.”
“Politically motivated delays in defense funding ultimately harm national security. They inhibit the military’s ability to reset the force and provide for troops and their families. When our military is already stressed by ongoing commitments, it is shameful that some in Congress, together with their anti-war comrades, regularly seek to aggravate this situation to further their outdated policy of retreat and surrender.”
More on the DoD Supplemental Agreement: