WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Senators Ben Cardin and Barbara A. Mikulski (both D-MD), and Steny H. Hoyer (MD-5), Representatives Elijah E. Cummings (MD-7), Dutch Ruppersberger (MD-2), Chris Van Hollen (MD-8), John Sarbanes (MD-3), Donna F. Edwards (MD-4), and John Delaney (MD-6) released the following statement urging Congress to replace the sequester with a balanced alternative to deficit reduction after civilian defense employee furloughs began this week:
“Beginning this week, hundreds of thousands of civilian defense employees in Maryland and across the country will experience furloughs as a result of Congress’s inability to compromise on a balanced, responsible agreement to reduce the deficit. In addition to the non-defense federal employees in Maryland who have already taken furlough days, over 41,000 of our constituents who work at defense installations will begin furloughs this week, and we once again urge the House to take action to replace the sequester in its entirety with a balanced alternative and end these unnecessary furloughs.
“Our civilian defense employees are talented, dedicated men and women who work alongside uniformed personnel and ensure our war-fighters have the resources and support they need while serving in Afghanistan and fulfilling their missions elsewhere in the world. Unfortunately, civilian employees at our seventeen defense installations in Maryland will see their ability to support our uniformed personnel significantly eroded as they are forced to take unpaid leave for one day each week over the next eleven weeks. Many of these hardworking civil servants expect significant financial hardship due to this unfair 20% pay cut, which will cost our state over $137 million and will impact local businesses outside of the gates of these facilities, as well. We are deeply concerned about the harm these furloughs will have on Maryland’s economy and on our nation’s military readiness.
“Congress ought to be working toward a balanced agreement to replace the sequester, end furloughs for all federal employees, and put our nation back on a fiscally sustainable path. We continue to urge our colleagues to reach such an agreement as soon as possible. For the sake of working families in Maryland, our uniformed military personnel, and the mission of our defense installations and other federal facilities, we cannot delay.”