Furloughs cut short for Delaware service members

 (Photo courtesy of Delaware National Guard)

(Photo courtesy of Delaware National Guard)

About 400 Delaware National Guardsman feeling the sting of sequestration received some welcome news today.

Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel announced furloughs affecting Defense Department civilian employees, which includes uniformed members of the National Guard nationwide, would end after six days, down from the planned 11.  

“The men and women who work for our nation’s military, whether they wear a uniform or not, are essential to our national security and deserve better than to be furloughed because of arbitrary spending cuts,” said Sen Chris Coons, D-Del, a member of the Senate Budget Committee. “Today’s announcement amounts to a week’s pay that will no longer be taken from them because of Congress’ inaction.”

Because Congress could not reach a compromise on how to reduce the nation’s deficit, the U.S. government must reduce spending by $1.2 trillion over 10 years with $500 billion coming out of the Dept. of Defense; hence, the furloughs.

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While Sen. Coons applauds this latest move, he warns until Congress replaces the “reckless sequester” with a balanced approach to reducing the nation’s skyrocketing deficit, any celebration is premature.   

“Until we end the sequester, there is no guarantee that these Delawareans will not face additional furloughs and other unfortunate consequences next year.”

Had the furloughs gone the full 11 days, Major General Francis Vavala with the Delaware National Guard says the 400 furloughed Air and Army National Guardsmen stood to lose as much as 20 percent of their incomes.

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