Markey Cheers Pentagon Decision on Civilian Workers
Senator wrote Secretary Hagel yesterday asking DOD to give civilian workers, contractors paychecks during shutdown
WASHINGTON (October 5, 2013) Senator Edward J. Markey (DMass.) today hailed the decision by Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel to return most civilian military workers back to their jobs. Senator Markey yesterday wrote Secretary Hagel asking him to use the authority under the Pay Our Military Act ? to pay civilians and contractors working in the military during the government shutdown, along with the active duty service men and women who are already guaranteed pay. During the Tea Party Republican shutdown, Congress was able to agree to pass this legislation, which mandates that active duty service members will be paid, but that civilians and contractors paychecks will be left to the discretion of the Defense Department.
"This is the right decision for the hundreds of thousands of patriots who support our soldiers, and now it's time to end this harmful government shutdown that has left hundreds of thousands of other federal workers sitting at home," said Senator Markey.
Massachusetts employs nearly 7,000 civilians and thousands of contractors at a half dozen military bases and other businesses and facilities around the state.
The full text of Senator Markey's October 4 th letter to Secretary Hagel is below:
October 4, 2013
The Honorable Chuck Hagel
Department of Defense
1000 Defense Pentagon
Washington, DC 203011400
Dear Secretary Hagel:
I was proud to support the Pay our Military Act, which was signed into law by President Obama earlier this week, because it requires that active duty uniformed personnel be paid during the federal government shutdown, and it also provides you the authority to pay civilian personnel and contractors throughout the shutdown. In Massachusetts there are almost 7,000 civilians and thousands of contractors who could be impacted by the federal government shutdown. Accordingly, I am writing to strongly urge you to use this authority under the law to provide pay for the thousands of civilian personnel and contractors of the Department of Defense in Massachusetts and across the nation who provide support to the Armed Forces.
The new law provides the Secretary of Defense the authority to continue to "provide pay and allowances to the civilian personnel of the Department of Defense (and the Department of Homeland Security in the case of the Coast Guard) whom the Secretary concerned determines are providing support to members of the Armed Forces". The law also gives the Secretary the authority to "provide pay and allowances to contractors of the Department of Defense (and the Department of Homeland Security in the case of the Coast Guard) whom the Secretary concerned determines are providing support to members of the Armed Forces".
Massachusetts is the front line of defense along the East Coast for the entire nation. The dedicated public servants throughout the Commonwealth work hard every day to insure that our military has what it needs to keep Americans safe. Massachusetts is also home to hundreds of defense related businesses that develop the equipment, services, and technology used by our military. Unfortunately, furloughs have kept too many of our national security workforce from protecting America. I believe that our national security is too important to be negatively impacted by any federal government shutdown.
I ask you exercise the authority under the Act to minimize the harmful effects of the shutdown on our national security. Thank you for your attention to this important matter and for your service keeping our country safe.
Edward J. Markey