The Release of Barack Obama’s 2005-06 Earmark Requests Brings up Questions

Cross posted from Wake up America

Barack Obama has released his earmarked federal spending requests for 2005 and 2006 having previously released his requests for 2007. In the recent release there are specific requests that are being questioned in the media today.

In the midst of all three presidential candidates, Clinton, Obama and McCain, backing a proposal in the Senate to ban all earmarks for one year, an amendment to the Senate’s 2009 budget act, which the Senate rejected with a vote of 29-71, Barack Obama has released his list of requested earmarks for 2005-06, then calling on Hillary Clinton to release a list of hers.

The Senate roll call on that vote found here.

“Earmarking” is the word used for a provision in legislation that directs funds to be spent on specific projects. Usually, legislators seek to insert earmarks which direct a specified amount of money to a particular organization or project in his/her home state or district.

John McCain has long been known to be a vocal critic of earmarks and has refused to request spending for projects in his home state of Arizona. McCain recently challenged both of his Democratic rivals to reveal their earmarks for transparency.

Hillary Clinton ranked 10th highest in the list of Senators, for her $342 million worth of earmarks last year and has not released the details of her requests for 2007.

Barack Obama secured $98 million for Illinois projects for the fiscal year of 2008, but his requests totaled $311 million, according to the list he has just released.

Furthermore, according to information released Thursday by Obama, he had 138 earmark requests for the 2007 fiscal year.

His total requested funding was about $330 million.

One of those earmarks is being questioned. The earmark is listed as being for a “High Explosive Air Burst Technology Program”.

Obama Requested $8 Million And Helped Secure $1.3 Million For The High Explosive Air Burst Technology Program. In 2006, Obama requested $8 million and helped secure $1.3 million for High Explosive Air Burst Technology funding. Through General Dynamics, this project supported the 25mm Bushmaster cannon, the primary weapon on the Army Bradley Fighting Vehicle (BFV) and the US Marines’ Light Armor Vehicle (LAV). Under contract for System Design and Demonstration (SDD), GD-OTS is developing a Family of Ammunition for the Army’s Future Combat System (FCS) to include a High Explosive Air Burst (HEAB) round. This program will upgrade the capability of the current forces BFV and LAV. Additional funding for the 25mm HEAB for the SFV and LAV will ensure this program will run effectively during its planned service until 2051. [House Report 109-676 (109th Congress); Obama Request Letter To The Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense, 2006]

That request resulted in $1.3 million in funding for the program, which was a defense project that was overseen by General Dynamics, one of the nation’s largest military contractors. Obama’s Illinois finance chairman, James S. Crown, serves on the company’s board of directors and his family holds a large stake in the company.

Crown and his wife, Paula Crown, are members of Obama’s National Finance Committee and have raised more than $200,000 for the Obama campaign, according to a list of fundraisers posted on Obama’s campaign website.

Another one of the earmarks on the lists of requests was for the Construction Of A New Hospital Pavilion At The University Of Chicago, where Michelle Obama works:

Obama Requested $1 Million For Construction Of A New Hospital Pavilion At The University Of Chicago. In 2006, Obama requested that the University of Chicago receive $1 million to support its Construction of New Hospital Pavilion. For more than 75 years, the University of Chicago Hospitals (UCH) has provided state of the art medical care on the South Side of Chicago. UCH is one of the largest Medicaid providers in Illinois, and it provided more than $90 million in uncompensated care for Medicare and Medicaid patients this past year. To continue providing the best care for patients from all walks of life, UCH is proceeding with the construction of a new 600,000 square foot facility that will ensure their ability to provide the best care for patients well into the future. Funding will go towards assisting the construction and equipping a new hospital pavilion that will increase the Hospitals’ clinical capacity by over one-third. [Obama Request Letter to the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Energy and Water, 4/7/06]

The reason the media is questioning that particular earmark is because of what could be considered a conflict of interest.

His wife, Michelle Obama, has worked for the University of Chicago Hospitals since 2002, at the time she was executive director of community affairs, making a salary of, according to the CNN Money, $121,910. That salary rose to $316,962 in 2005 as she became vice president of community affairs, right after Barack Obama became the Senator for Illinois.

The Obama campaign says that neither of those earmarks were discussed with Michelle Obama or James S. Crown.

The complete list of requested earmarks for Barack Obama can be found here.

Aides to the Obama campaign say he will not be requesting any earmarks this year.

Now that Obama has released this list for public scrutiny, he is joining McCain is challenging Hillary Clinton to release her requested earmarks, in a release from the Obama Campign that says, “If Sen. Clinton will not agree to join Sen. Obama in releasing her earmark requests, voters should ask why she doesn’t believe they have the right to know [how] she wants to spend their tax dollars.”

H/T Talk Left and the Campaign Spot.

NYT is also discussing Obama calling for Hillary to release her requested earmarks.

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The Release of Barack Obama’s 2005-06 Earmark Requests Brings up Questions

Cross posted from Wake up America

Barack Obama has released his earmarked federal spending requests for 2005 and 2006 having previously released his requests for 2007. In the recent release there are specific requests that are being questioned in the media today.

In the midst of all three presidential candidates, Clinton, Obama and McCain, backing a proposal in the Senate to ban all earmarks for one year, an amendment to the Senate’s 2009 budget act, which the Senate rejected with a vote of 29-71, Barack Obama has released his list of requested earmarks for 2005-06, then calling on Hillary Clinton to release a list of hers.

The Senate roll call on that vote found here.

“Earmarking” is the word used for a provision in legislation that directs funds to be spent on specific projects. Usually, legislators seek to insert earmarks which direct a specified amount of money to a particular organization or project in his/her home state or district.

John McCain has long been known to be a vocal critic of earmarks and has refused to request spending for projects in his home state of Arizona. McCain recently challenged both of his Democratic rivals to reveal their earmarks for transparency.

Hillary Clinton ranked 10th highest in the list of Senators, for her $342 million worth of earmarks last year and has not released the details of her requests for 2007.

Barack Obama secured $98 million for Illinois projects for the fiscal year of 2008, but his requests totaled $311 million, according to the list he has just released.

Furthermore, according to information released Thursday by Obama, he had 138 earmark requests for the 2007 fiscal year.

His total requested funding was about $330 million.

One of those earmarks is being questioned. The earmark is listed as being for a “High Explosive Air Burst Technology Program”.

Obama Requested $8 Million And Helped Secure $1.3 Million For The High Explosive Air Burst Technology Program. In 2006, Obama requested $8 million and helped secure $1.3 million for High Explosive Air Burst Technology funding. Through General Dynamics, this project supported the 25mm Bushmaster cannon, the primary weapon on the Army Bradley Fighting Vehicle (BFV) and the US Marines’ Light Armor Vehicle (LAV). Under contract for System Design and Demonstration (SDD), GD-OTS is developing a Family of Ammunition for the Army’s Future Combat System (FCS) to include a High Explosive Air Burst (HEAB) round. This program will upgrade the capability of the current forces BFV and LAV. Additional funding for the 25mm HEAB for the SFV and LAV will ensure this program will run effectively during its planned service until 2051. [House Report 109-676 (109th Congress); Obama Request Letter To The Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense, 2006]

That request resulted in $1.3 million in funding for the program, which was a defense project that was overseen by General Dynamics, one of the nation’s largest military contractors. Obama’s Illinois finance chairman, James S. Crown, serves on the company’s board of directors and his family holds a large stake in the company.

Crown and his wife, Paula Crown, are members of Obama’s National Finance Committee and have raised more than $200,000 for the Obama campaign, according to a list of fundraisers posted on Obama’s campaign website.

Another one of the earmarks on the lists of requests was for the Construction Of A New Hospital Pavilion At The University Of Chicago, where Michelle Obama works:

Obama Requested $1 Million For Construction Of A New Hospital Pavilion At The University Of Chicago. In 2006, Obama requested that the University of Chicago receive $1 million to support its Construction of New Hospital Pavilion. For more than 75 years, the University of Chicago Hospitals (UCH) has provided state of the art medical care on the South Side of Chicago. UCH is one of the largest Medicaid providers in Illinois, and it provided more than $90 million in uncompensated care for Medicare and Medicaid patients this past year. To continue providing the best care for patients from all walks of life, UCH is proceeding with the construction of a new 600,000 square foot facility that will ensure their ability to provide the best care for patients well into the future. Funding will go towards assisting the construction and equipping a new hospital pavilion that will increase the Hospitals’ clinical capacity by over one-third. [Obama Request Letter to the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Energy and Water, 4/7/06]

The reason the media is questioning that particular earmark is because of what could be considered a conflict of interest.

His wife, Michelle Obama, has worked for the University of Chicago Hospitals since 2002, at the time she was executive director of community affairs, making a salary of, according to the CNN Money, $121,910. That salary rose to $316,962 in 2005 as she became vice president of community affairs, right after Barack Obama became the Senator for Illinois.

The Obama campaign says that neither of those earmarks were discussed with Michelle Obama or James S. Crown.

The complete list of requested earmarks for Barack Obama can be found here.

Aides to the Obama campaign say he will not be requesting any earmarks this year.

Now that Obama has released this list for public scrutiny, he is joining McCain is challenging Hillary Clinton to release her requested earmarks, in a release from the Obama Campign that says, “If Sen. Clinton will not agree to join Sen. Obama in releasing her earmark requests, voters should ask why she doesn’t believe they have the right to know [how] she wants to spend their tax dollars.”

H/T Talk Left and the Campaign Spot.

NYT is also discussing Obama calling for Hillary to release her requested earmarks.

No Pork For Us, No Money For Troops: Democratic Blackmail

Cross posted from Wake up America by request from Beth.

Pork is a nickname for earmarks and earmarks are spending items inserted by Congressmen and are usually specific to a Congressional district.

The other day we showed you that an omnibus bill that was being talked about by Steny Hoyer to Wapo, a bill that would lump the 11 appropriations bill that Congress is three months late in getting done, part of which is funding for our troops, all together into one massive bill, as well as adding 9,500 “earmarks” into the bill, totaling almost $9.5 billion dollars, which would have made the total around $522 billion for the omnibus.

We said it was the beginning of the end of the war funding fight.

Today, David Obey (D-Wis.), is whining to Wapo about those nasty Republicans not agreeing to all the pork and not allowing the Democrats to blackmail them with their ridiculous threats that our troops will not be funded if the Dems do not get their pork.

A Democratic deal to give President Bush some war funding in exchange for additional domestic spending appeared to collapse last night after House Appropriations Committee Chairman David R. Obey (D-Wis.) accused Republicans of bargaining in bad faith.

Instead, Obey said he will push a huge spending bill that would hew to the president’s spending limit by stripping it of all lawmakers’ pet projects, as well as most of the Bush administration’s top priorities. It would also contain no money for the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

“Absent a Republican willingness to sit down and work out a reasonable compromise, I think we ought to end the game and go to the president’s numbers,” Obey said. “I was willing to listen to the argument that we ought to at least add more for Afghanistan, but when the White House refuses to compromise, when the White House continues to stick it in our eye, I say to hell with it.”

House Democratic leaders were scheduled to complete work last night on a $520 billion spending bill that included $11 billion in funding for domestic programs above the president’s request, half of what Democrats had initially approved. The bill would have also contained $30 billion for the war in Afghanistan, upon which the Senate would have added billions more for Iraq before final congressional approval.

But a stern veto threat this weekend from White House budget director Jim Nussle put the deal in jeopardy, and Obey said he is prepared for a long standoff with the White House.

“If anybody thinks we can get out of here this week, they’re smoking something illegal,” he said.

So, because his attempt to blackmail the Republicans and the President didn’t work, he is going to take his toys and go home?

One of the best descriptions I have seen about this Wapo article quoting David Obey, is from Strata-Sphere who likens Obey and Co. to children throwing a temper tantrum, pouting and stomping their feet.

Only a seriously self-obsessed fool would threaten the lives of our military overseas to get his way on a budget deal. But the Dems are not capable of leading. They cannot stomach the compromise required to get bills past a divided Congress. They can’t give up anything – they would rather pout to the cameras and cripple our government.

House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer (D-Md.)has already made one thing very clear:

“We have to get to a point where the American public more clearly perceives our policy position and is not confused by whether or not the Democrats intend to support the troops that we’ve sent to Iraq. I don’t think there’s an option on that,” Hoyer said.

He said that as he was testing the waters to see how the public as well as the politicians would react to this omnibus bill.

Evidently it isn’t working out so well.

The problem for them, one they don’t seem to “get” yet, is they cannot publicly hold our troops hostage to their pork aka earmarks.

Blackmail, especially when it is our troops that are threatened by the blackmail, is not going to come out well for them at all, in the eyes of the public.

The ramifications of Congress going on their Christmas recess without funding the troops is well known already, as has been told to the public by Defense Secretary Robert Gates.

All this leaves the department only with undesirable options to continue operations in the absence of a bridge fund. The path we believe is least undesirable fiscally and militarily would involve the following. The military would cease operations at all Army bases by mid-February next year. This would result in the furloughing of about 100,000 government employees and a like number of contractor employees at Army bases.

These layoffs would have a cascading effect on depots and procurements. Similar actions would follow for the Marine Corps about a month later. By law, we’re required to notify certain union employees 60 days in advance, so appropriate notices would have to go out starting in mid-December.

By law, they are required to notify certain union employees 60 days in advance, which means that Congressional inability to do their jobs will have “pink slips” handed out for Christmas.

This 60 day notice law is not new, certain contracts have required it for years and Congress has been well aware of it.

Democratic politicians can make any statements to the press they want but it doesn’t negate the fact that commanders have already been giving the following letters, sent on Nov. 26, 2007: (Doc. file here)

From: Cody, Richard A GEN VCSA
Sent: Monday, November 26, 2007 7:32 PM
To:

VCSA SENDS

TO ALL COMMANDS AND AGENCIES

SUBJECT: Contingency Budget Planning

REF A. SecDef Memo, 16 NOV 07, Subj: Contingency Budget Planning

REF B. SecArmy and CSA Memo, 20 NOV 07, Subj. Contingency Budget Planning

REF C. VCSA Email, 26 SEP 07, Subj. Outlook for Funding in FY 2008

1. The FY2008 DoD Appropriations Act did not provide funds for the Global
War on Terror (GWOT) and we do not know at this time when or if the GWOT
funds will be approved by Congress.

2. References A and B directed that we take immediate action to begin
planning to reduce operations at all Army bases. This message provides
instructions for developing these plans. Send your initial plans through
your RM channels. They are due on 4 DEC 2007. Your plans will be reviewed

by a G3-led task force here at HQDA.

3. This is a planning effort, repeat, a planning effort to reduce OMA
funded operations to the minimum mission essential level. Your initial
plans will identify the weekly cost to continue those OMA funded minimum
mission essential activities allowable under Feed and Forage after 23
February 08 and will include the amount of OMA funds available for return to
the Department when all other services and functions are discontinued.

Guidance in reference C stands; take no action at this time to slow any
program. Continue to execute your approved programs and do not implement
any spending restriction or reduction in the scope and pace of operations
until notified. Continue following existing guidance to review civilian
hiring actions and contracts.

4. Include these assumptions in your plans:

a. On or about 22 February 08, all distributed Operation and Maintenance,
Army (OMA) funds will be fully obligated or committed.

b. On 23 February 08, installations and commands will move to a “warm base”

status and all OMA funded activities will cease except those noted in
paragraph 4 below.

c. Civilian furloughs may last more than 30 days and therefore require a 60
day notice.

d. Military manpower, if available at your location, will be authorized to
replace civilian and contractor workforce. Military personnel other than
those preparing to deploy should be considered available.

e. Only direct funded OMA activities are affected. Programs, projects and
activities funded with other than OMA will continue as planned.

5. Your plans should identify the minimum mission essential activities
along with their estimated costs that are permissible by Feed and Forage (if
approved by OSD) and the impact of discontinuing all other services and
functions effective 23 February 08. For these planning purposes, consider
the following as minimum mission essential operations:

a. To protect the life, health and safety of occupants and residents of
Army installations.

b. To protect and maintain assets vital to the national defense.

6. Your plans should also provide a separate estimate of the weekly minimum
essential costs in order to determine what is permissible under Feed and
Forage:

a. Support forces deployed overseas including Europe, Korea, Japan and
COCOM activities.

b. Prepare forces for deployment to include recruiting, individual training
and unit training.

7. The ASA(FM&C) will provide a reporting format through RM channels. You
should be prepared to report the following information:

a. Life, Health and Safety. Those activities and services and their
estimated weekly cost that must be continued to protect occupants and
residents of Army installations to include military, civilians and Family
members.

b. Training. The amount of OMA funds by week necessary to support training
activities for deploying forces.

c. Quality of Life. Those activities and services for Soldiers and
Families that will be impacted and/or terminated once all existing OMA funds
are fully obligated or committed.

d. Depot Level Reset. To the maximum extent possible, plan to work off FY
07 carry over and new orders received from customers funded with other than
OMA appropriations. Identify the amount of OMA (both base and GWOT) by week
necessary to fund only the organic depot work required to keep production
lines operating and the total amount of OMA Reset funds available for
return.

e. Recruiting: Report the minimum weekly cost to continue to recruit the
force and train the load.

f. Mobilization and Demobilization: Provide the weekly cost to continue
mobilization and demobilization activities to support rotations into and out
of theaters of operation.

g. Field Level Maintenance: Plan to suspend all field level maintenance
except that necessary for life, health or safety or to support the war
fight. Provide the weekly cost for the latter.

8. In the report, you will be asked to break out the activities in
paragraphs 4, 5 and 6 into these categories:

a. Civilian Personnel. Identify the number of minimum mission essential
(Life, Health and Safety) and non-mission essential civilian personnel
funded through direct OMA appropriations. You should anticipate that the
Department will issue furlough notices to civilian employees with sufficient
lead time to implement a furlough on or about 23 February 08. For foreign
national personnel, provide the equivalent of furlough procedures under the
respective Status of Forces Agreement. Identify the weekly payroll cost of
mission essential civilian personnel. Furlough dates will be provided for
US Civilian personnel by G1.

b. Contracts. Identify the total amount of OMA funds needed for minimum
mission essential contracts. Also identify the amounts that can be returned
to the Department when all other services and functions are terminated or
suspended on or about 23 February 08. Factor in termination costs before
reporting the amount available for return.

9. DoD is considering the use of other authorities, Feed and Forage for
example, to continue essential operations as directed. The ASA(FM&C) will
issue instructions on these special funding authorities. The G1 will
provide additional guidance on civilian furloughs.

10. POCs are:

The DoD, December 4, 2007:

Some members of Congress have responded by saying the Pentagon has funds to continue operations through March, but a Pentagon spokesman today said furlough notices for Army employees could start going out the middle of this month. The employees would not be furloughed until after Christmas, but some contracts require a 60-day notice if the furlough will be longer than 60 days, Defense Department spokesman Bryan Whitman told reporters at the Pentagon. The department is using fiscal 2008 funds – not part of the supplemental funding needed – to keep operations going in the war on terror, he explained.

“Anyone who thinks that this is not a serious situation is simply misinformed or is ignoring the facts. We have tried to be as matter of fact as we can on this, but the reality is that we are using our program budget for FY 08 … to fund our operations in Iraq and Afghanistan,” Whitman said.

DoD is using its readiness funding, or operations and maintenance accounts, which typically pay for training, supplies, and maintenance of weapons and equipment.

Earlier this month, Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates requested to shift $3.7 billion from Navy and Air Force payrolls and an $800 million excess in the working capital fund to Army and Marine Corps operations.

If funding continues to be delayed, it could affect as many as 200,000 civilian employees and contractors, DoD officials reported earlier.

They go on to report some of the actions that will have to be taken, but you can see a visual of most of them for yourself, right here.

From Federal Times, just today we see this reported:

The last thing anyone wants for Christmas is a furlough notice. But that’s just what hundreds of thousands of Defense Department civilian employees and contractors are facing.

The Defense Department is warning it may lay off employees, mostly in the Army and Marine Corps, because it will run out of money unless Congress and President Bush agree on an emergency war supplemental spending bill. The Army expects to run out of operations and maintenance funding by Feb. 23, the Marine Corps, by March 24.
As many as 200,000 Army civilian contractors and employees could be furloughed then; the Marine Corps says up to 24,000 civilian employees are threatened. The Army expects to send 60-day advance notices to affected employees the week of Dec. 17, and the Marine Corps said it must notify union leaders about planned furloughs by Christmas Eve.

“Neither contractors nor civil servants should be pawns in this process, but that’s the result of a political appropriations process,” said Alan Chvotkin, vice president of the Professional Services Council, which represents contractors.

Nice lump of coal Congress plans on sticking in those folks stockings huh?

Congressional leaders need to understand, if they do not do their job and get these funds to our troops and these layoff aka furlough notices go out, then Congress will suffer the consequences of their inaction.

If they think they have the lowest Congressional approval ratings in the history of polling for congressional approval, now…. just wait and see how much worse it gets for them.

.

No Pork For Us, No Money For Troops: Democratic Blackmail

Cross posted from Wake up America by request from Beth.

Pork is a nickname for earmarks and earmarks are spending items inserted by Congressmen and are usually specific to a Congressional district.

The other day we showed you that an omnibus bill that was being talked about by Steny Hoyer to Wapo, a bill that would lump the 11 appropriations bill that Congress is three months late in getting done, part of which is funding for our troops, all together into one massive bill, as well as adding 9,500 “earmarks” into the bill, totaling almost $9.5 billion dollars, which would have made the total around $522 billion for the omnibus.

We said it was the beginning of the end of the war funding fight.

Today, David Obey (D-Wis.), is whining to Wapo about those nasty Republicans not agreeing to all the pork and not allowing the Democrats to blackmail them with their ridiculous threats that our troops will not be funded if the Dems do not get their pork.

A Democratic deal to give President Bush some war funding in exchange for additional domestic spending appeared to collapse last night after House Appropriations Committee Chairman David R. Obey (D-Wis.) accused Republicans of bargaining in bad faith.

Instead, Obey said he will push a huge spending bill that would hew to the president’s spending limit by stripping it of all lawmakers’ pet projects, as well as most of the Bush administration’s top priorities. It would also contain no money for the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

“Absent a Republican willingness to sit down and work out a reasonable compromise, I think we ought to end the game and go to the president’s numbers,” Obey said. “I was willing to listen to the argument that we ought to at least add more for Afghanistan, but when the White House refuses to compromise, when the White House continues to stick it in our eye, I say to hell with it.”

House Democratic leaders were scheduled to complete work last night on a $520 billion spending bill that included $11 billion in funding for domestic programs above the president’s request, half of what Democrats had initially approved. The bill would have also contained $30 billion for the war in Afghanistan, upon which the Senate would have added billions more for Iraq before final congressional approval.

But a stern veto threat this weekend from White House budget director Jim Nussle put the deal in jeopardy, and Obey said he is prepared for a long standoff with the White House.

“If anybody thinks we can get out of here this week, they’re smoking something illegal,” he said.

So, because his attempt to blackmail the Republicans and the President didn’t work, he is going to take his toys and go home?

One of the best descriptions I have seen about this Wapo article quoting David Obey, is from Strata-Sphere who likens Obey and Co. to children throwing a temper tantrum, pouting and stomping their feet.

Only a seriously self-obsessed fool would threaten the lives of our military overseas to get his way on a budget deal. But the Dems are not capable of leading. They cannot stomach the compromise required to get bills past a divided Congress. They can’t give up anything – they would rather pout to the cameras and cripple our government.

House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer (D-Md.)has already made one thing very clear:

“We have to get to a point where the American public more clearly perceives our policy position and is not confused by whether or not the Democrats intend to support the troops that we’ve sent to Iraq. I don’t think there’s an option on that,” Hoyer said.

He said that as he was testing the waters to see how the public as well as the politicians would react to this omnibus bill.

Evidently it isn’t working out so well.

The problem for them, one they don’t seem to “get” yet, is they cannot publicly hold our troops hostage to their pork aka earmarks.

Blackmail, especially when it is our troops that are threatened by the blackmail, is not going to come out well for them at all, in the eyes of the public.

The ramifications of Congress going on their Christmas recess without funding the troops is well known already, as has been told to the public by Defense Secretary Robert Gates.

All this leaves the department only with undesirable options to continue operations in the absence of a bridge fund. The path we believe is least undesirable fiscally and militarily would involve the following. The military would cease operations at all Army bases by mid-February next year. This would result in the furloughing of about 100,000 government employees and a like number of contractor employees at Army bases.

These layoffs would have a cascading effect on depots and procurements. Similar actions would follow for the Marine Corps about a month later. By law, we’re required to notify certain union employees 60 days in advance, so appropriate notices would have to go out starting in mid-December.

By law, they are required to notify certain union employees 60 days in advance, which means that Congressional inability to do their jobs will have “pink slips” handed out for Christmas.

This 60 day notice law is not new, certain contracts have required it for years and Congress has been well aware of it.

Democratic politicians can make any statements to the press they want but it doesn’t negate the fact that commanders have already been giving the following letters, sent on Nov. 26, 2007: (Doc. file here)

From: Cody, Richard A GEN VCSA
Sent: Monday, November 26, 2007 7:32 PM
To:

VCSA SENDS

TO ALL COMMANDS AND AGENCIES

SUBJECT: Contingency Budget Planning

REF A. SecDef Memo, 16 NOV 07, Subj: Contingency Budget Planning

REF B. SecArmy and CSA Memo, 20 NOV 07, Subj. Contingency Budget Planning

REF C. VCSA Email, 26 SEP 07, Subj. Outlook for Funding in FY 2008

1. The FY2008 DoD Appropriations Act did not provide funds for the Global
War on Terror (GWOT) and we do not know at this time when or if the GWOT
funds will be approved by Congress.

2. References A and B directed that we take immediate action to begin
planning to reduce operations at all Army bases. This message provides
instructions for developing these plans. Send your initial plans through
your RM channels. They are due on 4 DEC 2007. Your plans will be reviewed

by a G3-led task force here at HQDA.

3. This is a planning effort, repeat, a planning effort to reduce OMA
funded operations to the minimum mission essential level. Your initial
plans will identify the weekly cost to continue those OMA funded minimum
mission essential activities allowable under Feed and Forage after 23
February 08 and will include the amount of OMA funds available for return to
the Department when all other services and functions are discontinued.

Guidance in reference C stands; take no action at this time to slow any
program. Continue to execute your approved programs and do not implement
any spending restriction or reduction in the scope and pace of operations
until notified. Continue following existing guidance to review civilian
hiring actions and contracts.

4. Include these assumptions in your plans:

a. On or about 22 February 08, all distributed Operation and Maintenance,
Army (OMA) funds will be fully obligated or committed.

b. On 23 February 08, installations and commands will move to a “warm base”

status and all OMA funded activities will cease except those noted in
paragraph 4 below.

c. Civilian furloughs may last more than 30 days and therefore require a 60
day notice.

d. Military manpower, if available at your location, will be authorized to
replace civilian and contractor workforce. Military personnel other than
those preparing to deploy should be considered available.

e. Only direct funded OMA activities are affected. Programs, projects and
activities funded with other than OMA will continue as planned.

5. Your plans should identify the minimum mission essential activities
along with their estimated costs that are permissible by Feed and Forage (if
approved by OSD) and the impact of discontinuing all other services and
functions effective 23 February 08. For these planning purposes, consider
the following as minimum mission essential operations:

a. To protect the life, health and safety of occupants and residents of
Army installations.

b. To protect and maintain assets vital to the national defense.

6. Your plans should also provide a separate estimate of the weekly minimum
essential costs in order to determine what is permissible under Feed and
Forage:

a. Support forces deployed overseas including Europe, Korea, Japan and
COCOM activities.

b. Prepare forces for deployment to include recruiting, individual training
and unit training.

7. The ASA(FM&C) will provide a reporting format through RM channels. You
should be prepared to report the following information:

a. Life, Health and Safety. Those activities and services and their
estimated weekly cost that must be continued to protect occupants and
residents of Army installations to include military, civilians and Family
members.

b. Training. The amount of OMA funds by week necessary to support training
activities for deploying forces.

c. Quality of Life. Those activities and services for Soldiers and
Families that will be impacted and/or terminated once all existing OMA funds
are fully obligated or committed.

d. Depot Level Reset. To the maximum extent possible, plan to work off FY
07 carry over and new orders received from customers funded with other than
OMA appropriations. Identify the amount of OMA (both base and GWOT) by week
necessary to fund only the organic depot work required to keep production
lines operating and the total amount of OMA Reset funds available for
return.

e. Recruiting: Report the minimum weekly cost to continue to recruit the
force and train the load.

f. Mobilization and Demobilization: Provide the weekly cost to continue
mobilization and demobilization activities to support rotations into and out
of theaters of operation.

g. Field Level Maintenance: Plan to suspend all field level maintenance
except that necessary for life, health or safety or to support the war
fight. Provide the weekly cost for the latter.

8. In the report, you will be asked to break out the activities in
paragraphs 4, 5 and 6 into these categories:

a. Civilian Personnel. Identify the number of minimum mission essential
(Life, Health and Safety) and non-mission essential civilian personnel
funded through direct OMA appropriations. You should anticipate that the
Department will issue furlough notices to civilian employees with sufficient
lead time to implement a furlough on or about 23 February 08. For foreign
national personnel, provide the equivalent of furlough procedures under the
respective Status of Forces Agreement. Identify the weekly payroll cost of
mission essential civilian personnel. Furlough dates will be provided for
US Civilian personnel by G1.

b. Contracts. Identify the total amount of OMA funds needed for minimum
mission essential contracts. Also identify the amounts that can be returned
to the Department when all other services and functions are terminated or
suspended on or about 23 February 08. Factor in termination costs before
reporting the amount available for return.

9. DoD is considering the use of other authorities, Feed and Forage for
example, to continue essential operations as directed. The ASA(FM&C) will
issue instructions on these special funding authorities. The G1 will
provide additional guidance on civilian furloughs.

10. POCs are:

The DoD, December 4, 2007:

Some members of Congress have responded by saying the Pentagon has funds to continue operations through March, but a Pentagon spokesman today said furlough notices for Army employees could start going out the middle of this month. The employees would not be furloughed until after Christmas, but some contracts require a 60-day notice if the furlough will be longer than 60 days, Defense Department spokesman Bryan Whitman told reporters at the Pentagon. The department is using fiscal 2008 funds – not part of the supplemental funding needed – to keep operations going in the war on terror, he explained.

“Anyone who thinks that this is not a serious situation is simply misinformed or is ignoring the facts. We have tried to be as matter of fact as we can on this, but the reality is that we are using our program budget for FY 08 … to fund our operations in Iraq and Afghanistan,” Whitman said.

DoD is using its readiness funding, or operations and maintenance accounts, which typically pay for training, supplies, and maintenance of weapons and equipment.

Earlier this month, Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates requested to shift $3.7 billion from Navy and Air Force payrolls and an $800 million excess in the working capital fund to Army and Marine Corps operations.

If funding continues to be delayed, it could affect as many as 200,000 civilian employees and contractors, DoD officials reported earlier.

They go on to report some of the actions that will have to be taken, but you can see a visual of most of them for yourself, right here.

From Federal Times, just today we see this reported:

The last thing anyone wants for Christmas is a furlough notice. But that’s just what hundreds of thousands of Defense Department civilian employees and contractors are facing.

The Defense Department is warning it may lay off employees, mostly in the Army and Marine Corps, because it will run out of money unless Congress and President Bush agree on an emergency war supplemental spending bill. The Army expects to run out of operations and maintenance funding by Feb. 23, the Marine Corps, by March 24.
As many as 200,000 Army civilian contractors and employees could be furloughed then; the Marine Corps says up to 24,000 civilian employees are threatened. The Army expects to send 60-day advance notices to affected employees the week of Dec. 17, and the Marine Corps said it must notify union leaders about planned furloughs by Christmas Eve.

“Neither contractors nor civil servants should be pawns in this process, but that’s the result of a political appropriations process,” said Alan Chvotkin, vice president of the Professional Services Council, which represents contractors.

Nice lump of coal Congress plans on sticking in those folks stockings huh?

Congressional leaders need to understand, if they do not do their job and get these funds to our troops and these layoff aka furlough notices go out, then Congress will suffer the consequences of their inaction.

If they think they have the lowest Congressional approval ratings in the history of polling for congressional approval, now…. just wait and see how much worse it gets for them.

.

Someone IS Dumber Than Reid?

Reid Hires A Dummy

I wasn’t going to post this but I feel compelled. It goes to show the world how DUMB some in the Halls of CONgress are. And Reid, the dumbest of all and the owner of the LOWEST approval rating of a CONgress Critter in the history of our nation, has hired someone dumber than he is. Hard to believe? Check this out. I won’t point out the dumb “thing”. If you spot it, place it in the comments section.

The Buck Stops Here
The Politico reports on some back and forth between Senate Republicans and Democrats over lobbying and ethics legislation:

[Sen. Jim] DeMint [R., S.C.] says he supports the lobbying reform provisions in the package. But he isn’t likely to budge until he gets a promise from Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid that the new Senate rules on earmarks won’t be watered down or deleted from the final bill.

The earmark provision is a change in Senate rules, which DeMint argues shouldn’t be part of any conference committee with the House.

“The House has no reason to tinker with Senate rules,” said Wesley Denton, DeMint’s spokesman. “The only reason to want to put them in conference is because they intend to change them.”

Jim Manley, Reid’s spokesman, calls those assertions “phony as a two-dollar bill.”

Give Reid credit. Not many employers would give such a big break to a Taco Bell clerk.

Someone IS Dumber Than Reid?

Reid Hires A Dummy

I wasn’t going to post this but I feel compelled. It goes to show the world how DUMB some in the Halls of CONgress are. And Reid, the dumbest of all and the owner of the LOWEST approval rating of a CONgress Critter in the history of our nation, has hired someone dumber than he is. Hard to believe? Check this out. I won’t point out the dumb “thing”. If you spot it, place it in the comments section.

The Buck Stops Here
The Politico reports on some back and forth between Senate Republicans and Democrats over lobbying and ethics legislation:

[Sen. Jim] DeMint [R., S.C.] says he supports the lobbying reform provisions in the package. But he isn’t likely to budge until he gets a promise from Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid that the new Senate rules on earmarks won’t be watered down or deleted from the final bill.

The earmark provision is a change in Senate rules, which DeMint argues shouldn’t be part of any conference committee with the House.

“The House has no reason to tinker with Senate rules,” said Wesley Denton, DeMint’s spokesman. “The only reason to want to put them in conference is because they intend to change them.”

Jim Manley, Reid’s spokesman, calls those assertions “phony as a two-dollar bill.”

Give Reid credit. Not many employers would give such a big break to a Taco Bell clerk.