The Pentagon may have to institute an “emergency” plan to keep the Army and Marine Corps going if Congress does not soon pass the FY2010 war costs supplemental appropriations. Pentagon spokesperson, Geoff Morrell, said in a press conference this week that Secretary Gates was “disappointed that the Congress did not pass the defense supplemental before the July 4th break.” Morrell said the secretary was particularly concerned that in order to avoid interrupting war operations, the Services would have to start cash-flowing war operating costs from their baseline budgets. He said that pentagon leaders still expect the Congress to complete action soon. However, he warned that if they don’t act soon, Army and Marine Corps accounts will “run dry” in August. And in light of this uncertainty, Morrell told reporters the DoD “budget team” was preparing emergency plans, but would not elaborate on these plans. He stated that the department has become very familiar with this kind of situation. However, he pointed out that this year it was somewhat different than past ssituations because it was so late in the fiscal year. The usual 4th quarter funds that had been used for cash-flowing in previous years were in short supply. He said this made the current situation very disruptive. The House and Senate are currently trying to resolve the differences in their passed bills. The Senate passed its version of the bill in late May (see Highlights, May 31, 2010) that included $33 billion in war funding. $4 billion in foreign aid, $5.1 billion in disaster relief, and $13.4 billion in benefit payments to Vietnam veterans and survivors for exposure to Agent Orange. Just before the July 4th recess, the House approved the Senate bill (see Highlights, July 2, 2010), but added almost $15 billion in education aid, and funding for border security and Gulf Coast oil spill assistance. The conference faces two problems: 1) Republicans and a few Democrats in the Senate are reluctant to approve the additional funding even if it is fully offset, and 2) the President has threatened to veto a bill that includes the House proposal to rescind $800 million from education programs to offset additional funding. Congress has two to three weeks to finish this bill before the August recess.