Shortly after releasing their initial statement below, U.S. Senators Susan Collins (R-ME) and Angus King (I-ME) learned from the U.S. Department of Defense that it will delay the release of furlough notices by approximately two weeks in order to allow the Pentagon time to analyze the impact of the Continuing Resolution which was passed yesterday.
The Continuing Resolution, which Senators Collins and King voted for yesterday in the Senate, passed the House of Representatives today and has been sent to the President for his signature. As a result of Senators Collins' and King's efforts, the Continuing Resolution contains a full-year funding bill for the Department of Defense, which gives the Pentagon more flexibility in its budget.
Senators Collins and King said:
"Today's announcement by the Defense Department is encouraging and timely news for the civilian employees at defense facilities in Maine, such as the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard and the DFAS Center in Limestone. We hope the DoD will find the appropriate resources within the Continuing Resolution, which we supported, so that the men and women who work at PNSY and DFAS can continue their important work and have financial security.
"That said, while this delay is helpful in the short-term, the long-term problem of sequestration still exists -- and as we said, we will not give up. We will continue to push the President, and our colleagues on both sides of the aisle, to work together on a deficit reduction plan to avoid these indiscriminate cuts and to set our country on a path to long-term fiscal stability."
"It is simply unacceptable that Congress and the President have yet to reach a deal that would replace these mindless, across-the-board cuts, known as "sequestration," with a responsible, long-term deficit reduction plan. Jobs are being threatened -- jobs that provide financial security for Maine workers and health insurance for their families. It is absolutely irresponsible that these hardworking men and women face the uncertainty and consequences of cuts that the President and Congress could prevent.
"In February, we stood with the workers at PNSY to let them know that we are committed to finding a solution, and together, we have been sounding the alarm for weeks. We have written to the President and Senate leaders, strongly urging bipartisan action to avert the sequester which, we believe, would have a devastating impact not only on families, but on our military and defense readiness.
"We will not give up. We will continue to push the President, and our colleagues on both sides of the aisle, to work together on a deficit reduction plan to avoid these indiscriminate cuts and to set our country on a path to long-term fiscal stability."