Ex-Comptroller: Congress Must Act Soon on Budget

It looks like the US is “again sailing into troubled budgetary waters,” the former Pentagon comptroller said during a panel at the ComDef conference in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday. However, there is still time for Congress to make a deal, said Robert Hale, now a Booz Allen Hamilton fellow. Shutdowns like the one in 2013? waste time and money, Hale said, and damage the readiness of the military. DOD needs Congress to make a two-year deal to raise the budget caps, or procurement will likely be slashed, he said. “A lot is at stake over the next couple of months,” he said. “I can only hope that Congress will do the right thing.” The US is also quickly moving toward the debt ceiling, and could hit it in November or December, Hale said. Breaching that ceiling would significantly damage the country’s national security, said Todd Harrison, director of defense budget analysis and senior fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. “When we go to war, we have to borrow money to pay for it. That’s a fact,” he said, who also noted that damaging the country’s credit rating could be disastrous.