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Congress Passes 4th Continuing Resolution

Update: On March 6, 2024, the House passed a multiple-agency spending package fully funding the Department of Veterans Affairs and military construction projects until the end of the fiscal year. The measure moved to the Senate where it passed and moved to the President’s desk for signature on March 9, 2024. What follows is preserved here for archival purposes.

On Thursday, February 29, 2024, Congress passed a fourth continuing resolution funding government operations, including the Department of Defense. However, the funding issue will not become a problem again until March 22, 2024.

Using a fourth-in-a-row continuing resolution instead of fully funding the government means many Defense Department plans (including modernization and quality-of-life upgrades) may be questioned until proper funding is secured.

What Happened?

In February 2024, Congress failed yet again to pass a federal budget, leaving the Defense Department holding the bag, so to speak, with two major conflicts happening simultaneously.

The lack of a formal budget forced House and Senate leaders to vote on a temporary funding measure to prevent the government from shutting down. The lack of a budget means that DoD projects that need appropriated funds must be placed on hold or placed into holding patterns until proper funding is approved.

Add to that major military infrastructure issues, including mold-infested barracks, food insecurity among junior enlisted troops, and contaminated water at military bases, all inadequately addressed due to the failure to agree on the most basic issues related to doing business as the federal government.

The Problem With Continuing Resolutions

“It’s only February!” That’s the cry of some on the sidelines who don’t understand the problem well.

While it is true that we are only two months at press time into 2024, the government’s fiscal year started in October of 2023, which means the government has been operating without a formal budget for nearly HALF the fiscal year.

A Defense News article notes that stopgap funding–including a proposed full-year stopgap resolution–would cause billions of federal dollars to become “misaligned” and severely affect current military operations.

Related: Veteran Education Benefits

Full-Year Continuing Resolution

A one-year stopgap plan would force the DoD to “prioritize current operations in places like Europe and the Middle East, followed by personnel, then acquisition and modernization”. It could force the military to pause certain military improvement efforts.

And there’s more. Army Times reports, “A full-year continuing resolution that would keep fiscal 2023 spending levels through the rest of 2024 means the U.S. Army, for instance, would run out of operations and maintenance funding” at some point. That would include money meant to help train Ukrainian soldiers fighting against the Russian invasion.

What’s Next?

The new temporary funding measure means the DoD will remain funded at 2023 levels until March 22, 2024. However, temporary funding for Department of Veterans Affairs and military construction expires two weeks before March 8, 2024.

The House and Senate plan to vote on those March 8 spending bills, but there is no word on the finalization of the Pentagon’s spending needs for Fiscal Year 2024. And there is no guarantee the March 8 votes will approve more funds.


Unfortunately, lawmakers are still grappling with the same problem–Capitol Hill factions bent on scoring culture war points keep introducing “poison pill” measures into the negotiations.

These measures entered into introductory versions of the spending bills typically have no bearing on military readiness, basic financial security for junior troops, or cleaning up mold-infested military housing, let alone dealing with two major conflicts in the world simultaneously.

Will lawmakers overcome these problems long enough to fund the federal government properly? This is a developing story.

Related: Veteran Education Benefits

About the author


Editor-in-Chief Joe Wallace is a 13-year veteran of the United States Air Force and a former reporter/editor for Air Force Television News and the Pentagon Channel. His freelance work includes contract work for Motorola, VALoans.com, and Credit Karma. He is co-founder of Dim Art House in Springfield, Illinois, and spends his non-writing time as an abstract painter, independent publisher, and occasional filmmaker.