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Public Statements

Department of Defense Civilian Furloughs

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC

Mr. MAFFEI. Madam Speaker, last weekend, I had the honor to visit the men and women of the 174th Attack Wing at Hancock Air National Guard Base in Syracuse, New York.

The 174th is tasked with training airmen and supporting missions around the globe, including supporting combat missions in Afghanistan. It also supports homeland defense and aids during domestic emergencies, such as Hurricane Sandy. It does this 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

I was thoroughly impressed with the professionalism of Colonel Greg Semmel and the officers and airmen under his command. But I also saw firsthand how sequestration is affecting our military and its ability to execute its mission, a mission that the Congress of the United States authorized.

Approximately 280 that work for the 174th are subject to furlough, forcing the unit to operate missions in a theater of war shorthanded. Many of these men and women are in the National Guard and work full time in uniform. They are members of our Armed Forces on military missions and yet subject to sequestration.

This Congress should be ashamed that soldiers are sequestered in a time of war. I urge this body to find a way to prevent these furloughs so that the 174th and the rest of our military can complete the mission and protect our national security. We cannot wait another week. We must do it this week. We must give our soldiers and sailors and airmen the support that they need.

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