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Public Statements

Letter to Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel - Allow Navy to Cancel Furloughs

Letter

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

In a letter today to Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel, U.S. Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) are urging Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel to provide maximum flexibility to the service branches in an effort to avoid furloughing civilian employees.

As a result of sequestration cuts, Department of Defense civilian workers -- including those at Portsmouth Naval Shipyard -- will be furloughed for 14 days.

"Under sequestration, we have learned recently that the Navy believes it can safely shift money from other accounts in order to avoid furloughs. We appreciate that the other services may not be in the same situation," the Senators wrote. "The damage to our readiness and the morale of our skilled DoD employees is too great to allow furloughs to go forward. We ask that you grant the Navy and the Marine Corps the ability to go ahead with their proposal to avoid furloughs."

Senators Shaheen and Ayotte serve as Chair and Ranking Member, respectively, of the Senate Armed Services Subcommittee on Readiness.

SHAHEEN-AYOTTE LETTER TO SECRETARY HAGEL:

April 17, 2013

Secretary Hagel:

As the Chairman and Ranking Member of the Senate Armed Services Readiness Subcommittee, we are concerned about the impact that the furlough of civilian Derpatment of Defense (DoD) employees will have on our military readiness. We ask that you provide each of the services the maximum latitude possible to avoid furloughing their civilian employees.

As you know, on February 20, 2013, DoD notified Congress that under sequestration, the department would have to furloughs its civilian employees for 22 days. On March 28, 2013, DoD reduced the number of furlough days to 14. Yet, even this reduced number of furlough days will have a serious and negative impact on our nation's military readiness. For example, the Navy has said that furloughs will delay critical maintenance, reduce the ready naval forces available to our combatant commanders, and damage worker morale.

Under sequestration, we have learned recently that the Navy believes it can safely shift money from other accounts in order to avoid furloughs. We appreciate that the other services may not be in the same situation.

The damage to our readiness and the morale of our skilled DoD employees is too great to allow furloughs to go forward. We ask that you grant the Navy and the Marine Corps the ability to go ahead with their proposal to avoid furloughs.

We look forward to continuing our work with DoD to ensure our service members have the training and support they need to protect themselves and to defend our nation.


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