Earlier this week, more than a dozen Democratic lawmakers wrote a letter to Defence Secretary Mark Esper urging him to reconsider closing the newspaper, which provides print and online news to United States troops around the world.
The Defense Department, which notified the news organization in February that it meant to cut funding, said in an August 4 memo to the outlet's publisher that it had "decided to discontinue the publication of Stars and Stripes".
"The $15.5 million now allocated for the publication of Stars and Stripes is only a tiny fraction of your Department's annual budget, and cutting it would have a significantly negative impact on military families and a negligible impact on the Department's bottom line", wrote the group, which included 11 Democrats and four Republicans. This news becomes public in the wake of stories that the president disparaged fallen military personnel, and as he attempts to defend it on Twitter.
What is Stars and Stripes?
Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., separately wrote to Esper, urging him to maintain funding for the paper, describing it as a "hometown paper" for members of the armed forces.
"As a veteran who has served overseas, I know the value that the Stars and Stripes brings to its readers", wrote Graham, a former Air Force Reserve lawyer who retired as a colonel.
The Stars and Stripes newspaper has long supported the troops. The NDAA sets annual Pentagon policy and authorizes spending priorities while the appropriations bill funds the department.
The move has been criticised by both Republican and Democratic lawmakers who are pushing to restore its funding.
In a tweet on Friday, President Trump denied that his administration was cutting the newspapers' funding. But he said he also wants to hear from Pentagon officials.
However, the U.S. congress is still debating the Pentagon's 2021 budget, and may still provide the $15.5m needed by Stars and Stripes to continue operations.
In this July 10 file photo, Defense Secretary Mark Esper speaks during a briefing on counternarcotics operations at U.S. Southern Command in Doral, Fla. "I hope to see details beyond the [Trump] tweet from the Pentagon, to remove any uncertainty about what will happen when the fiscal year ends on September 30".
The Stripes ombudsman, Ernie Gates, told The Associated Press on Friday that shutting the paper down "would be fatal interference and permanent censorship of a unique First Amendment organization that has served USA troops reliably for generations".
Stars and Stripes, which is directed at members of the military, was first published for a brief time during the Civil War in 1861 and then again during World War I and its immediate aftermath, in 1918-19. Though it is part of the Pentagon's Defense Media Activity, Stars and Stripes retains its editorial independence and is congressionally mandated to be governed by First Amendment principles. "I'm glad to have the president's commitment that it won't happen".