NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) - The Navy has been instructed to operate at the 2012 budget level, leaving it almost $5 billion short of the funds needed for 2013.
The continuing resolution will keep the Navy at 2012 levels through March 27, which will lead to reduced ship maintenance programs, canceling most aircraft maintenance and curtailing training.
"A continuing resolution is no way to run our country," Rep. Scott Rigell (R-VA) said. "Some things that really shouldn't be funded are funded. Some things that need to be funded higher aren't really allowed to be funded."
Chief of Naval Operations Jonathan Greenert said the service was not prepared for this kind of budget.
"We've been operating this year as if we would get a bill, so we've been eating steak when we should have been eating casseroles," Greenert said. "We've got to figure out how to spend less because we may not get a bill in deliberations so we need to tighten the belt."
If Congress doesn't pass a budget for 2013 soon, drastic cuts could be in store for the Navy even before sequestration cuts take hold.
The cuts could directly affect the economy in Hampton Roads, including dropping maintenance for ships at Newport News Shipbuilding.
"They still have to operate, they still have to safety conscious, but there's just certain things they can't do... and that's gonna be, 'We're not going to fix ships.' What else can [Greenert] do?" Retired Admiral Fred Metz told WAVY.com.
Last week, Greenert said if a budget is not passed, overhauls to about 30 of the fleet's 187 surface ships will be canceled. Overhauls will continue at the four Navy-owned shipyards, but a lot of work that had been scheduled for private yards in Hampton Roads will be canceled.
"I know there are ships here. Of the 80 ships we have, there are ships that are due for some type of repair in the next six months and I would say if it's not in a public yard, they've probably been told they're not going to do it," Metz said.
Rigell said Congress must agree on two things if a budget is passed. He said one of those is entitlement spending cuts as well as revenues.
"Revenues have to come up," Rigell said. "We all agree that they should come up through growing our economy but they also need to come up a bit through tax reform and I've been making that case."
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