On April 16, the Department of the Army informed Congress that it has the funds to keep operations running through the end of June. This information contradicts the timeline the President has put forth in his effort to pressure Congress to send him the supplemental funding bill in the form he would prefer. President Bush should level with the American people and sign a supplemental that will provide the troops with the funding they need while changing the course in Iraq.
FACT: The Army Has Funds to Last Through the End of June. “The Army estimates that even with these spending restrictions and a temporary reprogramming of $1.6 billion, funds are sufficient to keep operations running only until the end of June.“(Memorandum from the Department of the Army to Members of Congress, “Funding Needs Prompt Army Spending Constraints,” 4/16/07, emphasis added)
FICTIONS: President Bush Repeatedly Claimed There Was an April Deadline for Iraq Funding.
- President Bush Claimed Troops Would Suffer After April 15th. “Our men and women in uniform need these emergency war funds. The Secretary of Defense has warned that if Congress does not approve the emergency funding for our troops by April the 15th, our men and women in uniform will face significant disruptions, and so would their families.” (President Bush Discusses Iraq War Emergency Supplemental, 3/23/07)
- President Bush Repeated the Claim that Funding Would Run Out in April. “Funding for our forces in Iraq will begin to run out in mid-April. Members of Congress need to stop making political statements, and start providing vital funds for our troops. They need to get that bill to my desk so I can sign it into law.” (President Bush Discusses Economy, War on Terror During Remarks to the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, 3/28/07)
- President Bush Again Claimed There Was an April Deadline. “In the meantime, the clock is ticking for our military. The Secretary of Defense, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and the Chief of Staff of the Army have warned that if Congress delays these funds past mid-April, we’ll have significant consequences for our Armed Forces. Army Chief of Staff says this: ‘Without approval of the supplemental funds in April, we will be forced to take increasingly draconian measures, which will impact Army readiness and impose hardship on our soldiers and their families.’” (President Bush Visits with the Troops at Fort Irwin, California, 4/4/07)
- Bush Tried to Pressure Congress into Acting by Mid-April. “The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Peter Pace, recently testified that if Congress fails to pass a bill I can sign by mid-April, the Army will be forced to consider cutting back on equipment repair and quality of life initiatives for our Guard and Reserve forces. The Army will also be forced to consider curtailing some training for Guard and Reserve units here at home. This would reduce their readiness, and could delay their availability to mobilize for missions in Iraq and Afghanistan. . . . . The bottom line is this: Congress’s failure to fund our troops will mean that some of our military families could wait longer for their loved ones to return from the front lines. Others could see their loved ones headed back to war sooner than anticipated. This is unacceptable. It’s unacceptable to me, it’s unacceptable to our veterans, it’s unacceptable to our military families, and it’s unacceptable to many in this country.” (President Bush Discusses Iraq War Supplemental, War on Terror, 4/10/07)
- Bush Issued Warnings of Dire Consequences as Troops Waited for Funds. “The Senate came back to Washington earlier this week, but the House is still on its Easter recess. Meanwhile, our troops are waiting for the funds. And to cover the shortfall, our military may be forced to consider what Army General Pete Schoomaker has called ‘increasingly draconian measures.’” (Presidential Radio Address, 4/14/07)
- Bush Repeated His Efforts to Shift Blame to Congress:. “As Congress delays, the clock is ticking for our troops. Last week, Secretary of Defense Gates wrote to Congress, laying out the consequences of their failure to pass emergency spending for our troops on the front lines. He warned that because Congress has not acted, ‘The Army will soon begin reducing quality of life initiatives, reducing the repair and maintenance of equipment necessary for deployment training, and curtailing the training of Army Guard and Reserve units within the United States, reducing their readiness levels.’ He continued that if emergency funding is not received by mid-May, ‘the Army will have to consider further actions, to include reducing the pace of equipment overhaul work at Army depots, curtailing training rotations for brigade combat teams currently scheduled for overseas deployment,’ a step that that the Secretary said, ‘would likely require the further extension of currently deployed forces.’ In other words, there are consequences for Congress’ delay in getting our troops that the Defense Department has requested. Congress’ failure to fund our troops will mean that the readiness of our forces will suffer. This is unacceptable to me; it’s unacceptable to you, and it’s unacceptable to the vast majority of the American people.” (President Bush Discusses the Iraq War Supplemental, 4/16/07)