- Obama’s regulatory agenda will cost U.S. economy $143B next year: report
- Patriot Act author on James Clapper: Fire, prosecute him
- Russia P.M. Medvedev: No amnesty for political prisoners
- Michigan GOP Senate hopeful reminds government is the ‘servant’
- Christmas, by Congress: Members mull a 15-cent tax on trees
- U.S. unemployment falls to five-year low of 7 percent; 203K jobs added
- World mourns Nelson Mandela and celebrates his life; burial set for Dec. 15
- Bill O’Reilly reminds: Nelson Mandela ‘was a communist’
- John Boehner says GOP should support gay candidates: ‘I do’
- Grass-Whopper: Pan-fried cricket burgers go over big in New York City
Lawmakers ask Pentagon why 5% of Defense workers still on furlough
Question of the Day
House lawmakers demanded to know Thursday why the Pentagon still hasn’t put all its civilian employees back to work after Congress passed the Pay Our Military Act last week, which Congress said was designed to get the Defense Department running again.
Rep. Rob Wittman, Virginia Republican, said the legislation states that the Defense Department could determine who provides support to members of the armed services and bring them back to work, yet 5 percent of the workforce is still on furlough.
“While common sense doesn’t always apply here in Washington, it seems to me that every member who serves in the Department of Defense supports the armed services,” said Mr. Wittman, who serves as chair of the House Armed Services subcommittee on readiness, as he grilled Pentagon officials at a hearing.
Rep. Michael Turner, Ohio Republican, got into a heated debate with Under Secretary of Defense Robert Hale calling for the names of those at the Department of Justice who advised the Secretary of Defense to limit which civilians could be brought back to work, despite the intention of the law to get all DOD employees back on the job.
“I’d like to know who — not agencies — who told the secretary that he was to interpret this more narrowly?” Mr. Turner asked. “You can’t just say some nameless, faceless bureaucrat.”
Mr. Wittman said that the country is failing to take care of sailors, soldiers, airmen and Marines who protect America, and said it was an “absolute embarrassment” that the administration stopped paying death benefits to troops killed in action in Afghanistan.
In his opening statement, Mr. Hale said that if the intent of the Pay Our Military Act was to recall all civilians, it should have said recall all civilians explicitly. The law required the secretary of defense to make a determination about who was recalled, which Mr. Hale said “clearly showed that a blanket recall was not authorized.”
The Pay Our Military Act also does not allow for purchasing consumables. Because of this, the Coast Guard Academy in New London, Conn., is nearly out of toilet paper and coffee filters, said Rep. Joe Courtney, Connecticut Democrat.
Rep. Madeleine Bordallo, Guam Democrat, used her opening statement to repeat the Democrats’ call for the entire government, not specific departments, to be opened.
“In a time where we remain a country at war, its important that we continue to support our men and women in uniform even during a preventable government shutdown. However, we can not continue to cherry pick departments and agencies that we want to keep open,” Ms. Bordallo said.
© Copyright 2013 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
Jacqueline Klimas covers Capitol Hill for The Washington Times. She can be reached at email@example.com.
- Budget negotiators look to federal workers for benefit concessions
- John Boehner faces bipartisan pressure to allow gay-rights vote
- Congress reports 'great progress' on farm bill
- First deadline missed in bipartisan negotiations to avoid shutdown in January
- Is airline security fee in budget a tax in disguise?
Latest Blog Entries
- Reid to support Gillibrand's military sex assault amendment
- Another Dem eyes Obamacare deadline extension
- RNC Chair Reince Priebus: Obamacare promises are 'a lot of talk'
- Bipartisan bill for community mental health services still needed under Obamacare: senators
- Democratic strategist: Sebelius should resign if problems extend to 2014
- Obama administration issues permits for wind farms to kill more eagles
- Spike in battlefield deaths linked to restrictive rules of engagement
- Rush Limbaugh: Obama trying to make Mandela death about himself
- Bill OReilly reminds: Nelson Mandela was a communist
- PRUDEN: British press horrified as London's new mayor dares to proclaim the truth
- Federal deficit shrinks 20 percent in fiscal 2014
- EDITORIAL: Our ideological president
- Activists urge Obama to go rogue, sidestep Congress
- Chris Matthews: GOP less patriotic than South African white apartheid leaders
- Sen. Rand Paul pushes 'Economic Freedom Zones' for Detroit
Independent voices from the The Washington Times Communities
History doesn't have to be grim; there is a lot to be learned from the pages of time.
The Constitution: Every issue, every time. No exceptions, no excuses. And how to get from here to there.
Why can’t humans just be free to be humans?
Get in the middle of all the action inside and outside the boxing ring.
White House pets gone wild!