A Bankrupt Pentagon 

Posted: 2:50 pm Friday, December 18th, 2009

By Jamie Dupree

Caught up in the health care battle, it looks like the budget for the Defense Department won’t be passed quickly enough, and that the military will run out of money at midnight tonight.

You read that right.  But don’t expect a government shutdown or anything.

What’s happening here?

The temporary budget for the Pentagon expires at midnight Friday night, but right now, a vote on the Defense budget bill won’t occur until 7:30 am on Saturday in the Senate, and then it still has to be signed into law by President Obama.

And he still had to fly home from Copenhagen.

On Friday afternoon, two Cabinet secretaries urged the Senate to quit their bickering over the bill and approve it right away.

“We strongly urge Senate passage of the Defense Appropriations Bill today, prior to expiration of the current continuing resolution,” said Secretary of Defense Robert Gates and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in a joint statement. 

“Passage today will provide important support for our foreign policy and national security priorities and ensure continuity of funding for our troops in combat and for all of the Department of Defense.”

Of course, if it was passed on Friday afternoon, the President isn’t in the country, so he couldn’t really sign it into law right away.

Now, who is to blame for this situation?  As always, that depends on your party affiliation.

Democrats say Republicans are delaying the bill, just so they can further delay health care. 

There is some truth to that.

Republicans say Democrats are to blame, since they waited so long to finalize this bill and bring it before the House and Senate.

There is some truth to that as well.

In the grand scheme of things it doesn’t really matter, as the whole debate will probably be forgotten in a few days.

But it makes for some good, political sound bites right now.