Turner, who is Chairman of the House Armed Services Subcommittee on Tactical Air and Land Forces, discussed the furloughs that went into effect Monday for more than 10,000 Department of Defense civilian employees at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base.
“For 11 days over the next few months these hardworking members of my community will see their pay cut by 20 percent,” Turner said during his floor speech. “Now I voted against this mess, because I knew the effects of sequestration on our national security and on our community and its citizens would be significant and for many devastating. These vital members of our national security structure have essentially been told they are expendable. Morale at WPAFB and DoD facilities around the United States is suffering because of this.”
The DoD notified Congress in February that it planned to furlough civilian workers for up to 22 days by the end of the fiscal year on Sept. 30. In March, that number was reduced to 14 and was then changed to 11 days in May. These furloughs come as a result of the nearly $40 billion in automatic 2013 defense budget cuts known as sequestration.
Colonel Cassie Barlow, commander of the 88th Air Base Wing, reported in June that the 11 required unpaid days off equal a 20 percent pay-cut for those furloughed. The civilian employees will be limited to a 32-hour work week during the 11-week period.
Col. Barlow said that $50 million in lost pay is not just going to affect each furloughed employee, but is going to affect the entire Miami Valley.
“I have spoken to not just these civilian employees but to car dealers, restaurant owners, small businesses, all who feel the pain and frustration because of in-action here in Washington. It doesn’t have to be this way,” Turner said Tuesday. “The House has passed legislation to halt it and it’s time that the Senate and the President come to the table and work to find a way to avert these furloughs and their devastating impact on the lives and businesses of hardworking Americans and its impact upon our national security.”
According to Congressman Turner, 50 percent of the automatic cuts fall into the defense category, though defense spending makes up less than 18 percent of what the federal government spends. During a satellite interview Monday, Turner told our partners at 2 NEWS that Dayton is bearing the brunt of this.