Pentagon hopes CR will be kept to 'a few weeks'

By Justin Doubleday / September 19, 2019 at 2:41 PM

The Pentagon is resigned to the inevitability of beginning fiscal year 2020 under a continuing resolution, as defense officials hope lawmakers can resolve their dispute over President Trump's border wall and pass an FY-20 appropriations bill "within a few weeks."

In meetings with House and Senate lawmakers this week, Defense Secretary Mark Esper "stressed the importance of passing an FY-20 appropriations as quickly as possible," according to Pentagon Chief spokesman Johnathan Hoffman.

"An extended continuing resolution would hinder the momentum of the readiness and modernization gains the department has achieved in the past two years," Hoffman said today during a press briefing at the Pentagon.

The House is expected to vote today or Friday on a continuing resolution to keep the federal government funded through Nov. 21. But lawmakers are wedged in a partisan dispute over funding President Trump's wall on the southern border.

Under a continuing resolution, accounts are funded at the same level from the previous year, and the Pentagon cannot move forward with a "new-start" program unless it receives an exception for the project.

"The hope is if it's kept within a few weeks, to a little longer than that, that it's something we can manage and work through," Hoffman said. "But once we start getting into months and quarters, the impact grows exponentially and it becomes more difficult to recover from those impacts."