On Tuesday, the Department of Defense announced that furloughs for civilian workers will be decreased from 11 days to 6. That’s some good news for about 10,000 civilian workers at Wright Patterson Air-force Base, but one Ohio Congressman says it’s still not enough.
Congressman Mike Turner of Ohio’s 10th district is Chairman of the House Armed Services Subcommittee on Tactical Air and Land Forces. This week he met with civilian Defense Department employees from Wright-Patt who have been impacted by furloughs.
According to Turner, the workers told stories of high weeds on the base, closed bathroom facilities, and other workplace maintenance lapses. They also talked about how shorter work weeks have created financial hardships.
Turner calls it “Extraordinary to think that we could be allowing weeds to grow at Wright Patterson Air Force Base or that facilities could be broken and not repaired, including restrooms." He says, "we really have gotten to the point where is clear that sequestration, which I opposed, is having drastic affects on both our military readiness and also the morale of our employees who work for the deaprtment of defense.”
Turner says the announcement of fewer furlough days is a step in the right direction, but the DOD needs to go even further. He believes there "should be no furloughs at all." Adding that, "The affect that it’s having on our ability to protect the country, the fact that 50% of the overall cuts proposed by the President in sequestration fall on the DOD, which is less than 18% of our overall budget, these are certainly the type of cuts that put our nation at risk.”
Col. Cassie Barlow is expected to speak about the furlough reductions at a press conference Wednesday at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base.