Hoyer Message to Constituents on Civilian Defense Furloughs

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“Hello, I’m Congressman Steny Hoyer. Many members of our community are now being furloughed as a result of congress’s failure to replace the automatic, across-the-board spending cuts imposed by sequestration.

“For several months, I have been calling on my colleagues to work together on a bipartisan solution that can replace the sequester with a balanced approach to deficit reduction that allows us to budget according to our priorities. Reaching such an agreement would help us end furloughs, protect local jobs, and put our nation back on a responsible, sound fiscal path.

“Unfortunately, House Republicans – who control the House agenda and decide what we can bring to the Floor for a vote – have denied us an opportunity to vote on an alternative to sequestration seven times. As a result of this inaction, furloughs began this week for civilian defense employees at Pax River, Webster Field, Indian Head, and other installations across our state.

“These hardworking public servants, who work alongside uniformed personnel and who support our brave war-fighters, do not deserve a 20% pay reduction just because Congress isn’t doing its job.

“Recently, I met with federal employees at Pax River and heard firsthand about the impact furloughs are already having on the navy’s mission, department morale, individual households, and our local economy outside the gate.

“During our meeting, many voiced significant concerns about their ability to get the job done for the fleet under these reduced hours. Many are anticipating economic hardship as a result of this 20% pay cut and are worried about what reduced spending will mean for local businesses. And many told me that they worry they will have to leave government service and turn to the private sector to make ends meet.

“These furloughs are threatening military readiness and undermining our ability to recruit and retain a highly qualified federal workforce.

“I know how challenging it is for our community to be experiencing such uncertainty, and I share the frustrations of our civilian defense workers and others who support our defense installations.

“That’s why I will continue to advocate for a bipartisan solution to end this irrational sequester policy.

“In the coming days and weeks, I encourage you to connect with me on Facebook and Twitter and share your story so we can continue highlighting together the urgency of replacing the sequester and ending these furloughs.

“Thank you for allowing me to share this update with you and for all that you do for our country.”