Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Will work for food--or $102.5 billion

"After June 15th, We Will Run Out Of Funds In This Account To Pay Soldiers, Including Those In Iraq And Afghanistan"
[Chuck: This came to me from the office of Public liaison at the White House.]

Secretary Of Defense And Joint Chiefs Of Staff Chairman Explain Disruptive Steps The Military Will Be Forced To Take If Congress Fails To Pass Supplemental Funding

Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Admiral Michael Mullen
Testimony to the Defense Subcommittee of the Senate Appropriations Committee

May 20, 2008

Military Pay Will Soon Dry Up
Sec. Gates: "Congress Has Yet To Pass The Pending $102.5 Billion Global War On Terror Request. As a result, the Defense Department is currently using fourth quarter funds … to cover current war costs. Shortly Two Critical Accounts Will Run Dry. First, Army military personnel: After June 15th, we will run out of funds in this account to pay soldiers, including those in Iraq and Afghanistan. Second, operations and maintenance accounts: Around July 5th, O&M funds across the services will run out, starting with the Army. This may result in civilian furloughs, limits on training and curbing family support activities."

Critical "CERP" Funds At Risk

Sec. Gates: "The Commanders Emergency Response Program, or CERP, the single most effective program to enable commanders to address local populations' needs, and get potential insurgents in Iraq and Afghanistan off the streets and into jobs. Congress has provided a half-a-billion dollars of our total CERP request of 1.7 billion. Without the balance of 1.2 billion, this vital program will come to a standstill. The department does not have the authority to extend funding beyond the 977 million in authority provided in the FY '08 National Defense Authorization Act."

Adm. Mullen: "I'm especially concerned about the availability of funds into the Commander's Emergency Response Program, authority for which expires next month. … Without these funds, without the supplemental, our ability to have this sort of impact will suffer. And in fact, we're beginning to suffer now."

o "CERP has proven in most cases more valuable and perhaps more rapid than bullets or bombs." "CERP has proven in most cases more valuable and perhaps more rapid than bullets or bombs in the fight against extremism, delivering as it does to local officials the money they need to deliver in turn the civil improvements their citizens need."

o "As one young American officer in Afghanistan put it, and I quote, CERP is small scale but quick impact."

Recurring Congressional Inaction Has Caused Disrupts And Delays

Sec. Gates: "[T]he Combination Of Delays In The Supplementals And Continuing Resolutions Has Really Thrown Managing The Department Out Of Whack."

"[I]t is costing the taxpayers money."

"It disrupts programs."

"It creates enormous problems just from a management standpoint because we're always kind of borrowing from Peter to pay Paul, and it's very difficult to do a lot of things in terms of long-range planning."

"Delaying the supplemental makes it difficult to manage the department in a way that is fiscally sound and prudent. … I have compared the Department of Defense to the world's largest supertanker: it cannot turn on a dime, and it cannot be steered like a skiff -- and I would add it cannot operate without paying its people."

--End of Message

So, without disparaging congress, or saying anything contemptuous about them, it's time certain ass-clowns who are preparing to take yet another undeserved vacation, look back on the 76 days they've actually been in session since 1 Jan 2008 and realize that they've had more time off in the last 101 workdays (25 days, not including the 40 weekend days) and pass the damned spending bill.

There are 366 days in a leap year. There have been 142 days so far this year. 101 fell Monday-Friday, and 41 fell Saturday/Sunday. We, the little people, had to work all but three of the 101 days, with one day off for New Years, One day for MLK, and One day off for Washington's Birthday. (Unless you work at a fucktard university, that celebrates MLK's vast contributions to the last 50 years of American society, but COMPLETELY IGNORES WASHINGTON'S AND LINCOLN'S CONTRIBUTIONS TO THE NATION AND THE WORLD.)

Sorry--I digress. So, most of us have had 98 workdays. 435 of us, however, managed an additional 22 days off.

They don't really call them days off. They are "district work periods" when they return to their home states to poll, kiss babies, screw interns, bounce checks, the usual. The 110th congress has had the following "district work periods" when they aren't in Washington, legislating.

February 19 - 22 Presidents Day District Work Period (the Tuesday-Friday AFTER Presidents day, so they essentially were out of DC from 16 FEB-24 FEB.

March 15-30 was when they had their next absence, called "March 17 - March 28 Spring District Work Period", which was 10 days out of office.

They'll also take next week off (27-30 May).

That leaves 13 workdays to make sure my checks don't bounce on 15 June.

I love my country, I really do. People are going to use this war funding as political capital, to force concessions across the isle. Our elected leaders are doing this with the following knowledge:

If I am not paid, I will not starve. I can hunt, fish, and farm (although it is late in the season).
My family will be 2800 miles away, however, and The Mrs. neither hunts, fishes, nor farms. I am not entirely month-to-month, however. We have enough savings to last us 3 months, if need be.

Unfortunately, we are in the very small percentage of military members who can say that, and it is only because of monies paid to me for traumatic injury, which we wisely dumped into IRAs and college funds. The retirement goes 1st, then the kids college funds.

I will, however, seek to charge the government whatever the daily prime interest rate is plus the amount of interest lost because I am dipping into my savings, on all monies not paid in full when due. After all, every day they don't pay me is another day I won't earn interest on MY money.

I am still contractually obligated to work, however, so walking off the job is not an option. I am a firm believer, however, that you get what you pay for, and any work not directly related to training cadets will likely suffer as my "give a shit-o-meter" dips precariously into the red.

If the pay situation is allowed to lapse and congress goes into recess for the summer, I may have to make some pretty tough choices, like which pieces of government property I will sell on Ebay to feed the kids. I'm sure I can find plenty of it while I am at Fort Lewis (buyer will pay shipping costs, and Strykers are HEAVY.)

Also, if the pay situation does lapse and congress does go on vacation, I may join them. I am not contractually obligated to stay in the Army, that is, I have no service obligation outstanding, and can resign at any time. I realize that would result in a loss of pension, but if they can't pay me now, why should I expect them to make good on it later?

Finally, so that this doesn't ever happen again, we should force upon the congress, at sword point if necessary, a constitutional amendment that no member of the Elected executive or legislative branches, nor any member of the supreme court, shall receive any monetary compensation at all until proper amounts of money have been apportioned for the salaries of the DoD, CIA, FBI, Homeland Security, Secret Service, and all other essential personnel. Until than, not one red cent goes into their grubby little pork grabbers.

Further, If more than 7 days lapse without them passing the essential salaries, they shall be locked in the capitol building, in the gallery, and completely sequestered--no staff, no lobbyists, no one but the members of congress, the supremes, the the President and VP, and the c-span camera. All heat/AC will be shut off, as well telephone and internet access. Cell towers will be turned off as well. All sewage will be shut off, as will all food and beverage service. They will stay until they pass it, or pass out.

Of course, that will never happen. No one will fight for us to get paid, and congress will pass the appropriation in the day or so before zero-hour. They will use the next 13 days for stumping and blustering, and in the end will vote for the money. They are, however, using the threat of economic ruin for hundreds of thousands of service members to further their own agendas.

Never forget that.

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