Government SPLOST 7 | | | Editor

Barrow gets support to prevent further furloughs

Wednesday, July 24, 2013 4:38 PM
Last updated Thursday, July 25, 2013 1:17 AM
  • Follow Metro

U.S. Rep. John Barrow gained the support he needed Wednesday to try to keep Fort Gordon’s civilian workforce from facing a furlough during fiscal year 2014 that would cut employee pay by 5 percent starting in October.

U.S. Rep. John Barrow, D-Ga., introduced legislation that would exempt Fort Gordon's civilian work force from furloughs.  FILE/STAFF
U.S. Rep. John Barrow, D-Ga., introduced legislation that would exempt Fort Gordon's civilian work force from furloughs.

The District 12 Democratic congressman from Augusta continues to work, however, to end the 11 days of unpaid leave the Pentagon is forcing more than 3,000 workers at Fort Gordon to take by the end of September to help save $1.8 billion in the Department of Defense’s budget.

On Wednesday, the House of Representatives passed its version of the department’s 2014 Appropriations bill, which included an amendment introduced by Barrow less than 24 hours earlier to prohibit civilian furloughs in the upcoming fiscal year.

The change – cosponsored by Doug Lamborn, R-Colo. – keeps in place spending reductions but requires that those cuts are made from other areas within the department’s budget.

“This commonsense proposal will ensure that civilian employees at Fort Gordon don’t face furloughs again after Oct. 1,” Barrow said. “We’ve still got work to do, but I refuse to accept the status quo of gridlock. I’m going to keep doing all I can to support these folks who are facing a 20 percent reduction in pay through no fault of their own.”

Despite opposition from some in his own party, Barrow’s amendment and the appropriations bill was approved by a vote of 315 to 109.

The $600 billion spending bill includes about $512.5 billion for the Pentagon’s base budget and around $82 billion for overseas operations and mandates that no funds may be used to support the Egyptian government or given to the National Security Agency to “acquire or store the content of a US person’s communications, including phone calls and emails.”

The Senate Appropriations Defense subcommittee has yet to even mark up its version of the legislation. Any eventual differences between the two bills would have to be ironed out by a conference committee before the final version could go to President Obama.

By rule, the appropriations bill cannot alter approved funding and will not include legislation Barrow introduced two weeks ago that would exempt Fort Gordon’s civilian workforce from the 11-day furlough that began July 8 to make up $37 billion in cuts from sequestration, which started in March.

The Pentagon reportedly wanted to extend furloughs into fiscal 2014. The unpaid leave, though, would equate to a 5 percent pay cut, compared with the 20 percent pay cut employees are facing now.

At Fort Gordon, the time off – taken mostly on Fridays – has affected more than 3,000 employees, including 35 security guards whose absence forced the base to borrow military personnel to man clearance gates.

Barrow said he continues to seek support through congressional letters and coalitions for House Bill 2613, which would amend the Balanced Budget and Emergency Deficit Control Act of 1985 to give President Obama the authority to grant furlough exemptions to all civilian employees in the Department of Defense.

The bill has nine co-sponsors and has been referred to the House Budget Committee. No vote is scheduled at this time.

Barrow stressed both pieces of legislation will preserve the spending cuts mandated by the budget sequestration, but mandates that the reductions will be made in other places within the defense budget.

Richard Carbo, Barrow’s press secretary, said he is not aware of any talk concerning where cuts may be made in the department’s budget to make up the possible loss of furloughs.

“I’m sure they’ll have a better idea once DoD is given their funding numbers for next fiscal year,” Carbo said.

Comments (5) Add comment
ADVISORY: Users are solely responsible for opinions they post here and for following agreed-upon rules of civility. Posts and comments do not reflect the views of this site. Posts and comments are automatically checked for inappropriate language, but readers might find some comments offensive or inaccurate. If you believe a comment violates our rules, click the "Flag as offensive" link below the comment.
Little Lamb
Little Lamb 07/24/13 - 04:46 pm
Bald-faced Lying

Congressman John Barrow said:

“I’m going to keep doing all I can to support these folks who are facing a 20 percent reduction in pay through no fault of their own.”

The sequester furloughs are less than a four percent annual pay cut.

rmwhitley 07/24/13 - 06:04 pm
Y'all better catch

barrow before he moves to another district. Oops, I forgot. Richmond county is almost 60% black and 90% blood-sucking democrat. His job is safe.

wildman 07/25/13 - 04:49 am

Don't forget about SRS employees! Some live in your district.

class1 07/25/13 - 05:58 am
Furlough Days

Who is out there supporting the teachers in Richmond County?

rachaeljohnson 07/25/13 - 02:02 pm

little lamb, although yes over a year it is roughly a 4 % pay cut, during the 11 weeks it is a 20% pay cut which is about 33% of these folks take home pay. That is significant. More importantly, this wasn't done to save money or for the betterment or downsizing of DOD but instead as a means to use Federal employees as pawns in a game of chicken by Obama and members of the Senate and Congress.

gargoyle 07/25/13 - 10:19 pm
In the privet sector when the

In the privet sector when the company runs out of budget the cuts are draconian . While I know it's tuff tightening belts it can be done, the privet side has worked through downsizing layoffs and pay cuts (I've personally gone through all three ) for quite awhile now. No matter what the Gov. tells you , you can't spend your way out of being broke. The last Country to try it no longer has its own currency. However I got a Hundred Trillion dollar bill from them that is worth last time I checked six dollars or sixty cents. Nobody is happy with how the Federal Government is handling the monetary crisis but unless the budget is reined in we face a Zimbabwe future for our children.

Back to Top
Search Augusta jobs