Lawmakers Press DoD to Avoid Furloughs

April 24, 2013

The Defense Department should rethink its plans for furloughs and other cutbacks to its civilian workforce, a bipartisan group of 126 House members said in a letter Tuesday to Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel.

“It is increasingly clear that these actions are threatening to undermine mission performance and, as a result, mission readiness,” the lawmakers wrote.

The lawmakers said they are aware that Hagel’s office is reviewing individual installations’ requests for relief, but “to date we have been told only that all civilian furloughs are being applied in the same manner across the department, regardless of whether a service component or defense agency has the resources to buy back the furlough days.”

The letter was released Wednesday by the American Federation of Government Employees, which represents many DoD civilian employees. The union said in a news release that its members were “instrumental” in rounding up signatures of support. While the bulk of the signers are Democrats, they also include Republicans such as Rep. Blake Farenthold of Texas, whose district encompasses Corpus Christi Army Depot.

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