The Senate’s support for Stripes’ funding is crucial to preserving this historic publication and to sending a message that the Senate intends to keep Stars and Stripes serving deployed troops and families.
The most direct way for that to happen is for the Senate to include $15 million in funding for Stars and Stripes in the FY21 Defense budget, which will come before the Senate Appropriations Committee’s subcommittee on Defense soon. Matching the House action in support of Stars and Stripes would tell the Pentagon leadership to back off its plan to shut Stripes down, and even to maintain Stripes’ operations as legislative negotiations over much more contentious budget and policy issues continue beyond Oct. 1.
Having both the Senate and House send the message of support, even in legislation only partly through the process, may be enough to keep DoD and DMA from pursuing the shutdown in defiance of Congress’ intent.
Language restoring Stars and Stripes’ $15 million appropriation is in the FY21 National Defense Authorization Act, as approved unanimously by the House Armed Services Committee, and in the FY21 Defense budget bill, as approved in a bipartisan vote by the House Appropriations Committee. Both of these bills are likely to pass the full House, possibly as soon as next week.
Friends of Stripes is asking key U.S. senators to provide support, which in conjunction with the House, will lead to a clear expression “congressional intent,” and may be enough to ensure Stripes can continue to publish after Oct. 1. Given the planned recess from early August through Labor Day, followed by the 2020 campaigning season in October, Stripes needs the senators’ support now.