Rep. McSally Highlights Impact of Year-Long Continuing Resolution on National Security and Davis-Monthan Air Force Base
WASHINGTON, DC—U.S. Representative Martha McSally (AZ-02) today participated in a vital House Armed Services Committee hearing about the implications a long-term continuing resolution (CR) would have on our armed forces. During the hearing, Rep. McSally questioned General David L. Goldfein, Chief of Staff of the Air Force on the impact that a CR would have on flying operations, specifically Air Force readiness. Their exchange highlighted how the CR would ground pilots at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base.
“That impact of another year long CR on our Air Force would be unprecedented,” said Rep. McSally, former A-10 pilot and squadron commander, during the hearing. “Pilots need to be ready to go anywhere in the world on twenty four hours’ notice. The cumulative effect of missing training throughout the year does have a degradation effect. We are a thousand fighter pilots short and we are grounding pilots then expecting them to stay. That’s insane.”
During the hearing General Goldfein testified that squadrons will be grounded in June. Rep. McSally questioned him on what that would mean for EC-130Hs, Angel Thunder (one of the largest and most realistic joint service, multinational, interagency combat search and rescue exercises), and the Bulldogs, the squadron she used to command, asking “When the Bulldogs come home in the summer they are going to be grounded. No flying, no upgrades, no training. They’re going to be done?”
Gen. Goldfein confirmed, “If you do not have a unit on your base that is directly preparing to go to into conflict, you will have the equivalent of a no-fly zone over your base.”
Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee Mac Thornberry was clear in his opening statement: "There is widespread agreement that funding cuts under the Budget Control Act, plus a series of continuing resolutions, coupled with the pace of required deployments have damaged the U.S. military. I believe that the damage has gone far deeper than most of us realize, requiring more time and more money to repair than is generally expected...The most important thing now is to repair the damage. We have the chance to begin doing so by passing a full appropriations bill for this year, acting favorably on the supplemental request, and then enacting adequate authorization and appropriations for fiscal year 2018."
In his prepared testimony, General Mark Milley, Chief of Staff of the Army also highlighted the devastation of a continuing resolution: "This is no time, in my professional view, to increase risk to our national security. A yearlong CR, or a return to the BCA funding will do just that. It will increase risk to the nation, and it will ultimately result in dead Americans on a future battlefield."
The current continuing resolution, or appropriations legislation that funds the government, will expire on April 28. To prevent a shutdown, Congress must pass an appropriations bill or another continuing resolution. Continuing resolutions do not permit changes to funding--for example, it would not support an increase in defense funding, despite deploying more troops to more locations.