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Civil Beat - Hagel Reduces Number of Military Furlough Days

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By Kery Murakami

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said today the military will be reducing furlough days for civilian employees from 11 to 6.

The announcement brought praise from Sen. Brian Schatz and Rep. Colleen Hanabusa, along with some messaging.

Rep. Colleen Hanabusa, a member of the House Armed Services Committee, praised the announcement saying in a statement, it "means more money in workers' paychecks, money that will go to providing necessities and supporting their families, and help sustain growth and support stability in Hawaii's economy."

She vowed to work to end sequestration.

Sen. Brian Schatz released his own statement later, "This is good news for the employees, their families, and for our defense preparedness … The next step is to repeal sequestration by working on a common sense, bipartisan compromise on the budget. Sequestration should have never been approved and I will work with Senate leadership to do everything we can to do away with it."

The comment about how sequestration should never have been approved is becoming a recurring theme for Schatz. We wrote about it yesterday, and how it appears to be a reference to Hanabusa's vote for a bill that created sequestration. However, as we explained, Schatz also voted for sequestration.

Hagel, though, said the defense department faces having to cut spending by $52 million next fiscal year, up from the mandated $37 million in cuts this year, unless Congress can end sequestration.

Hagel in a statement said the defense department was able to cut back on furloughs days partly because Congress last month allowed it to shift money around. In addition, some things, like transporting vehicles from Afghanistan, are costing less than expected.


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