Senate May Put Defense Supplemental on Hold

As the possibility of another government shutdown looms, the Senate may put a $30 billion supplemental defense spending bill on hold in order to pass an omnibus appropriations bill for fiscal year 2017. “I think that the best way to get [FY17] done is to do FY17, which includes defense, … and then deal with the supplemental as a separate issue,” Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) told the Washington Examiner Wednesday. The current continuing resolution that provides funding for the federal government expires on April 28, and the task of passing a belated appropriations bill, including funds for defense spending, for the rest of FY17 is challenging enough to delay consideration of the defense supplemental. This year, US military leaders have repeatedly stated that funding defense through continuing resolutions provides budgetary instability that damages readiness and impairs long-term planning. Sen. John McCain, chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, told CNN on Wednesday that he would not vote for another continuing resolution, even if it required allowing the federal government to shut down. “I will not vote for a CR no matter what the consequences because passing a CR destroys the ability of the military to defend this nation, and it puts the lives of the men and women in the military at risk,” McCain said. “I can’t do that to them.”