Inhofe: Administration's Shameful Failure Falls on Backs of Civilian Employees

WASHINGTON, D.C.- U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), ranking member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, today made the following statement in response to Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel’s announcement that the Department of Defense (DOD) will furlough nearly 800,000 civilian employees to meet budget cuts from sequestration.

“Secretary Hagel’s announcement today that the full impact of the administration’s failure to plan for the budget cuts from sequestration will now be borne on the backs of dedicated DOD civilian employees, who are already struggling from the impact of three consecutive years of wage freeze is shameful and irresponsible,” said Sen. Inhofe. “Civilian DOD employees are dedicated men and women who are part of our nation’s total force and provide the readiness for our troops at depots, shipyards and installations around the country.  While I agree with the secretary’s decision to except employees in Navy shipyards from furloughs to sustain maintenance work on nuclear vessels, I strongly disagree with his decision not to except other depot employees, whether mission-funded or working capital fund employees.  This short sighted decision will only further degrade overall readiness.”

On February 28, Sen. Inhofe and Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Penn.) introduced S. 16, a bill to grant flexibility to the Office of Management and Budget for the full $85 billion in sequestration cuts for the rest of fiscal year 2013. The bill would also grant the Department of Defense (DOD) transfer authority during the Continuing Resolution and would allow the department to minimize the necessity and duration of civilian employee furloughs.

On February 28, President Obama issued a Statement of Administrations Policy threatening to veto S. 16.

Secretary Hagel announced that civilian employees would be furloughed 11 days rather than 14 days as was previously speculated.