McCarthy fights against furloughs

Rebecca Neipp

News Review Staff Writer

McCarthy fights  against furloughsRep. Kevin McCarthy an-nounced last week that a provision in the Consolidated Appropriations Act (HR 3547) includes funding levels that should eliminate the need for any furloughs of civilian employees for 2014 and 2015.

When last year’s federal budget crisis triggered the sequester last year, Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel imposed furloughs on civilian employees across the Department of Defense. The controversial decision drew criticism from those who maintained that cuts could have been achieved without that action.

A congressional coalition later challenged the legality, and fiscal benefit, of implementing furloughs for employees at bases like China Lake, which competes for work rather than depending on federal allocations. The furloughs were eventually reduced down to six days, though China Lake was never exempted from them.

“There is concern that the negative impact on productivity, morale and readiness substantially outweighed the savings generated from civilian furloughs,” said a Joint Explanatory Statement, which was added to the HR 3547conference report, to clarify the DOD funding levels and need for furloughs in the near future.

That statement affirms that while the agreement does not include provisions to prohibit use of civilian furloughs, the act eliminates the need for them.

In July, McCarthy co-authored an amendment that would prohibit the implementation of furloughs on Defense Working Capital Fund employees, a category that includes most of those at China Lake.

Story First Published: 2014-01-22