Article 1, Section 9, Clause 7 of the Constitution states, "No money shall be drawn from the treasury, but in consequence of appropriations made by law..."


When Congress does not pass appropriations, the government shuts down. In order to avoid a shutdown when Congress can’t come to an agreement on long term funding levels, a Continuing Resolution, or CR, is usually passed in the meantime.


A CR continues the same funding levels as the previous fiscal year while Congress decides how funding levels will be adjusted in the following year. This may seem harmless on the surface, but CRs do not allow for funding of any new programs to respond to the ever-changing needs of the American people and our military.


On November 19th, Congress passed a CR to fund the government through December 20th. I voted against the CR, and here is why. Simply put, CRs are irresponsible.


Congress’s most important power and responsibility is the power of the purse, especially during an era in which the federal government has grown too large. We should be able to come to an agreement on time rather than procrastinate and force ourselves to strike a hastily conceived deal right before the holidays.


A CR is especially disastrous for our military, and its effects will be felt by the brave men and women who serve at the many great military bases here in eastern North Carolina.


During recent visits to Camp Lejeune and Marine Corps Air Stations Cherry Point and New River, base commanders frustratingly informed me how severely CRs paralyze the military. Budget uncertainty doesn’t allow the Department of Defense to plan for the future. In turn the military is unable to maintain its readiness and competitive edge over our international foes. CRs force the military to attempt to execute next year’s goals with last year’s money.


Unfortunately the longer stopgap funding continues, the more our readiness deteriorates.


About one-third of all active-duty Marines are stationed here in eastern North Carolina, and this year’s CRs have already had noticeable effects on Camp Lejeune and Marine Corps Air Stations Cherry Point and New River.


At Camp Lejeune, $217 million of construction projects that were planned for FY 2020 cannot begin until a new appropriations bill becomes law. In addition, funds needed to make full repairs from damages caused by Hurricane Florence still have not been passed. A full-year CR could cause all non-deployed naval aviation to be shut down and could limit flight training here in the United States only to those who are preparing for deployment. Although Marine Corps aviators are among the finest our country has to offer, this would not allow them to sufficiently maintain their elite skills.


These and more military projects in eastern North Carolina will not be funded if we continue to pass short term CRs, or worse, pass a year-long CR—a scenario that hasn’t been ruled out.


I will continue to fight for a new long-term funding agreement in Congress for the men and women who so selflessly and courageously fight for our freedom abroad. They must be properly prepared for combat in the future, so they have the best chance to return home safely.


The only way to ensure that’s the case is by providing them the funding they need. It’s time for Congress to set aside partisanship and pass a bill to fund our government at responsible levels. We owe it to the brave men and women who swear to defend our shores, our nation’s interests abroad and thus our freedom.


Congressman Greg Murphy, M.D. represents the congressional third district of North Carolina.