U.S. Representative Colleen Hanabusa (HI-01), a member of the House Armed Services Committee, released the following statement after the Pentagon announced the number of furlough days for civilian defense employees will be reduced from 11 to 6 days:
"This action by the Pentagon 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.
"Still, while we have somewhat eased the burden placed on our civilian defense employees, we cannot be complacent. We need to do more. We are in our fifth week of furloughs, which means the nearly 13,000 employees in Hawaii who are affected still have one more week of furloughs remaining. We still face potential impacts to our military readiness and our ability to provide the security our nation needs.
"Sequestration must stop. Its reckless cuts are damaging to all sectors across our nation, and it is up to us to develop a responsible, balanced approach to reducing spending. I will continue to call for sequestration's repeal, and I encourage my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to join me in making real progress on this lingering issue."
Hanabusa has consistently called for the end of furloughs, including sending a letter to Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel asking that he take into account the strategic importance of Hawaii's civilian workers and their overall contribution to the U.S. mission in the world.
Civilian defense workers were told earlier this year that they could face up to 22 furlough days. Furloughs began early July and were scheduled to continue at the rate of one per week through the end of the fiscal year.