Mariel Saez, 202-225-3130
WASHINGTON, DC - House Democratic Whip Steny H. Hoyer (MD) released the following statement today in response to the civilian defense employee furloughs that begin this week:
“Starting today, as a result of Congress’s failure to achieve a big and balanced solution to deficits, our national security and military readiness will be weakened as civilian workers are prevented from carrying out their important work because of furloughs. For one day each week over the next eleven weeks, civilian employees under the Department of Defense will be furloughed, forcing them to take an unfair 20% pay cut for the remainder of the fiscal year while the uniformed war-fighters whose missions they support will be left without critical assistance. This is the wrong approach to deficit reduction, and Congress has a responsibility to replace the irrational sequester that is the cause of these furloughs with a balanced alternative that does not undermine our national defense and military operations at a time when we are still at war in Afghanistan and our troops in the field need every tool to succeed in their missions.
“The Republican sequester policy forces cuts without regard to our national priorities, slashing funding for our highest and lowest priorities equally. It was never meant to be a solution but a deterrent to inaction – however, the unwillingness of Republicans to compromise in pursuit of a bipartisan agreement brought about the painful sequester that is forcing the Pentagon to cut the hours and pay of some of America’s most dedicated and talented public servants. At military installations in my home state of Maryland and across the country, hard-working civilian defense employees will be told to go home while essential work is left waiting.
“Sequester is not the answer, and I hope Democrats and Republicans in Congress can work together to replace the sequester in its entirety with a balanced alternative that will enable our outstanding civilian defense workers to get back on the job at full strength. The way to start this process is by appointing House budget conferees, and I again urge Speaker Boehner to take that important step right away.”