War Funds Depleted, Gates Says; Emergency Bill Now Necessary
Byline: Sara A. Carter, THE WASHINGTON TIMES
Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates said yesterday that if Congress fails to approve war funds this week, combat troops and civilian personnel will face reductions in services and equipment.
The spending cuts would take effect next month if Congress doesn't pass an emergency war spending bill, Mr. Gates said.
"I strongly urged the Congress to pass a global war on terror funding bill that the president would sign," Mr. Gates said at a Pentagon briefing. "With the passage of the Defense Appropriations Act, there is a misperception that the department can continue funding our troops in the field for an indefinite period of time through accounting maneuvers. ... This is a serious misconception"
The cuts include terminating contracts, preparing bases for reduced operations and laying off civilian employees for the Army and Marine Corps, he said.
Mr. Gates, who met with Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Deputy Treasury Secretary Robert M. Kimmitt along with members of Congress on Wednesday, said there are not enough adequate funds to support the war in Iraq and Afghanistan.
"Congress has provided very limited flexibility to deal with this funding shortage," Mr. Gates said. "We can only move a total of $3.7 billion under general transfer authority, which only amounts to a little over one week's worth of war expenses."
The Pentagon began shuffling funds to cover war costs Tuesday, as soon as President Bush signed the Defense spending bill, which did not include war funds but permitted account transfers. …