WASHINGTON, Nov. 28, 2007–The national commander of the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the U.S. is deeply concerned that the reluctance by congressional leadership to reach a compromise on Iraq war funding is going to seriously damage military readiness and quality of life programs at home installations.

George Lisicki, a Vietnam combat veteran from Carteret, N.J., said the sticking point in the $196 billion war supplemental is the inclusion of troop withdrawal timelines that some in Congress insist as a condition of passage.

The Defense Department had asked for the additional funding to purchase 7,200 new mine-resistant vehicles, to repair or replace damaged equipment, enhance roadside bomb countermeasures, fund military construction projects, and to improve medical and rehabilitation programs for wounded Iraq and Afghanistan servicemen and women.

But without dedicated funding, the military services are saying they will be forced to take drastic measures to fund the war using installation operations and maintenance budgets. The Pentagon already announced that as many as 200,000 civilian employees and contractors could be temporarily laid off by mid-February. Also being examined is the closing of military installations and facilities to free up additional funds.

Some in Congress are dismissing DoD’s plan of action as an idle threat, but the VFW national commander is taking it very seriously.

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