Defense Secretary Robert Gates said Thursday that unless Congress passes funding for the Iraq war within days, he will direct the Army and Marine Corps to begin developing plans to lay off employees and terminate contracts early next year.SECDEF, if you need help on where to start; there are two Congressional districts to go, Rep. Murtha (D PA-12) and Rep. Sestak (D PA-7). We know how they voted.
Gates, who met with members of Congress on Wednesday, said that he does not have the money or the flexibility to move funding around to adequately cover the costs of the continuing operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.
"There is a misperception that this department can continue funding our troops in the field for an indefinite period of time through accounting maneuvers, that we can shuffle money around the department. This is a serious misconception," Gates told reporters at the Pentagon.
As a result, he said that he is faced with the undesirable task of preparing to cease operations at Army bases by mid-February, and lay off about 100,000 defense department employees and an equal number of civilian contractors. A month later, he said, similar moves would have to be made by the Marines.
Some members of Congress believe the Pentagon can switch enough money to cover the war accounts, Gates said. But he added that he only has the flexibility to transfer about $3.7 billion — which is just one week's worth of war expenses. Lawmakers, he said, may not understand how complicated and restrictive the situation is.
The House on Wednesday passed, 218-203, a $50 billion bill that would pay for the wars but require that troops start to leave Iraq in 30 days.
Thursday, November 15, 2007
High and inside.