The Columbus Dispatch

By  Jessica Wehrman

The Columbus Dispatch Thursday July 25, 2013 6:14 AM

WASHINGTON — The House passed a nearly $600 billion defense-spending bill yesterday that included several measures aimed at keeping the Defense Department from furloughing civilian employees during the next fiscal year.

The House defense appropriations bill includes at least three amendments aimed at barring the federal government from using any money to implement Defense Department furloughs.

An amendment introduced by Rep. Doug Lamborn, R-Colo., would bar the use of federal dollars to implement sequestration-related furloughs of civilian defense employees. The two other amendments are aimed at preventing furloughs of those whose salaries are paid by a revolving fund not directly funded through congressional appropriations, and of those who are federal employees and also members of the National Guard or reserves.

“The furloughing of civilian Defense Department workers due to sequestration has been nothing short of shameful,” said Rep. Mike Turner, R-Dayton, a member of the House Armed Services Committee who voted against the budget cuts that led to the furloughs. “Families have been severely impacted because the president and the Senate have refused to act on this issue.”

Turner said the Senate should include similar language in its defense-appropriations bill, which has yet to pass. The legislation pays for the fiscal year that begins in October and would not affect current defense furloughs, which began this month and run through September. Civilian defense workers are required to take off 11 unpaid days during that period.

In Ohio, the cuts affect an estimated 12,500 employees at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton and up to 9,000 employees at the Defense Supply Center Columbus in Whitehall.Nationwide, 650,000 civilian defense employees are affected by the cuts.Among Ohio’s House delegation, only Democrat Marcia Fudge of Cleveland voted against the bill.

The White House has indicated that President Barack Obama probably would veto the House-passed bill. One reason is that it does not push for base closings, which the administration argues would save money. Another is that it requires larger military-pay increases than the administration would like. The administration says the raises might ultimately result in a reduction in troop levels and reductions in readiness and modernization accounts.