Hoyer says President Should Stop Playing Politics with Defense Employees; CRS Report Says Defense Department Has Tools to Avoid Issuing Furlough Notices
WASHINGTON (Dec. 13, 2007) - Southern Maryland's U.S. Representative, and House Majority Leader, Steny Hoyer said yesterday that "Department of Defense workers are not going to be furloughed." President Bush, unable to get Democrats to agree to unfettered funding for the conflict in Iraq, has resorted to threatening the furlough of 100,000 federal employees.
This action unnecessarily upsetting countless families throughout the region and across the country during the holiday season - is quite simply a political tactic by the Administration to pressure Congress to continue writing blank checks for its failing Iraq policy, said Hoyer at yesterday's press conference held along with members of the Washington Metro Area Delegation. [The furlough] is not going to happen.
President Bush objects to language in the House legislation that requires the redeployment of troops in Iraq within 30 days of enactment. The bill also requires that troops be fully trained and equipped and prohibits torture--even though the latter is already illegal.
On Monday, the non-partisan Congressional Research Service (CRS) issued a report on Extending Army Operations in Advance of a Supplemental War Appropriation, and found that the Department of Defense could continue current operations on current DoD funds until March 2008.
According to the CRS Report: In the absence of a bridge fund, the Defense Department may be able to extend Army and Marine Corps operations beyond February or March, either by adding money from other sources to Operations and Maintenance accounts or by slowing the pace at which the services are obligating funds.
Despite this, this Administration has chosen to play politics and stoke the fears of civilian employees, rather than meeting with Members of Congress to find ways to address this matter, said Hoyer. Like the ill-conceived National Security Personnel System, this is simply one more example of this Administrations low regard for our federal civilian workforce. I urge the President and his advisors: abandon the political theater and work with us to ensure that defense employees are able to continue the vital work they do on behalf of the nation.
CRS Report: FY2008 Supplemental Appropriations for Global War on Terror Military Operations, International Affairs, and Other Purposes, Dec. 10, 2007