About 50 smaller Air Force programs would have to be stalled if Congress is unable to pass a budget and instead relies on a year-long continuing resolution to fund the government, the service's secretary told reporters on Monday.

Secretary Deborah Lee James said the service needs to be able to modernize and has already made some tough decisions under an already-tight budget environment, including petitioning Congress to retire the A-10.

"If we don't get a budget, it's going to affect lots and lots of programs," she said. "There might be as many as 50 programs, many of them smaller programs, but nonetheless 50 programs that would fall under that category of a new start which could not be done under a full-year CR."

No new programs can begin under a continuing resolution, which extends funding for another year at the previous year's level. James said a CR likely wouldn't affect awarding a contract for the service's new long-range strike bomber, since funding has already been allotted to that initiative in previous years.

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