Odds are the President will veto the defense supplemental spending measure. Not only did Congress junk up the bill with lots of provisions that are not even remotely related to war costs, many of them are down right injurious to the American economy and security. Case in point is Senator Diane Feinstein’s “Emergency Agriculture Relief” Act. Apparently, Feinstein’s agricultural emergency requires granting permanent legal residence to undocumented agricultural workers. Rewarding undocumented workers with an “amnesty” for violating U.S. immigration laws would likely only encourage wide-spread fraud, more illegal border crossings, and further undermine the integrity of U.S. immigration laws. Even worse, the Feinstein amendment adds unwarranted restrictions to the H-2A visa program, making it easier for undocumented workers to get jobs than those seek to play by the rules.
While Congress plays politics with the supplemental forcing a presidential veto, the real losers are our men and women in uniform. Delayed supplemental funding has a corrosive impact on the military that Congress often blithely ignores. To pay for current operations, the Pentagon will divert money from other accounts that directly pay for training and readiness, like fixing trucks and sending troops to school. All those activities get deferred until the supplemental funding is approved. When that comes late in the year, anytime after Memorial Day, there is often not enough time left on the calendar (the fiscal year ends at the end of September) to spend the money. Delaying training, maintenance, and other support activities can have a negative cascading affect that ripple through the force for years.
Congress has picked an odd way to commemorate Memorial Day, preparing to send the president on unwieldy, unworkable bill that he cannot sign, one that will put the soldiers, sailors, marines, and airmen that we send in harm’s way at greater risk because the Pentagon has to scrimp on what is needed to get them ready for the fight.
post written by Senior Research Fellow Dr. James Carafano