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Hare, Braley Call on President to Stop Playing Politics with Rock Island Arsenal Employees

Location: Washington, DC

Hare, Braley Call on President to Stop Playing Politics with Rock Island Arsenal Employees

Congressman Phil Hare (D-IL) and Congressman Bruce Braley (D-IA) today released a report showing it is unnecessary for the Department of Defense to issue furlough notices to federal employees.

In November, the White House and Defense Departments warned that furloughs for 200,000 civilian employees could be sent before the holidays if they did not receive additional funding for the war in Iraq.

On Monday, the non-partisan Congressional Research Service issued a report, Extending Army Operations in Advance of a Supplemental War Appropriation, that found the Department of Defense could continue operations on current DOD funds until March 2008.

Despite this, the Department of Defense apparently intends to move forward with notifying civilian defense employees of possible furloughs as soon as this week.

"It is disservice to the patriotic men and women of the Rock Island Arsenal for President Bush to ratchet up fear in an attempt to continue his failed Iraq policy, especially around the holidays," Hare said. "This report shows clearly that no furloughs will be necessary. It is time for the President to tone down his rhetoric, end the political scare tactics, and treat our defense employees with the respect they deserve."

"Threatening Rock Island Arsenal and other Defense Department employees with ‘possible' layoffs in the days before Christmas is politics at its worst," Braley said. "The Congressional Research Service report has demonstrated that furloughs are unnecessary. The President's politics of fear only serve to intensify the partisanship that is already poisoning politics. I'll be working with Congressman Hare to do everything possible to protect Arsenal jobs from becoming a casualty of these ridiculous Washington games."

In fact, the President has already approved billions of dollars of funding for Defense Department operations in FY 2008. Last month, President Bush signed the $459.3 billion Defense Department appropriations bill (HR 3222) into law. That bill included money for operations at the Rock Island Arsenal and represented a funding increase of $37.9 billion from FY 2007.

Also in November, Hare and Braley each voted for a $50 billion bill funding the war in Iraq that included a responsible timetable for redeployment. That measure was killed by President Bush's Republican allies in the Senate.

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