Markey Presses Defense Dept. to Pay Armed Forces, DOD Civilian Personnel, Contractors During Shutdown

 

7,000 Civilian Military Workers, Thousands of Contractors in Massachusetts

 

WASHINGTON (October 4, 2013) - Senator Edward J. Markey (DMass.) today pressed the Department of Defense to use the authority it was granted earlier this week as part of the Pay Our Military Act to pay civilians and contractors working for 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.

 

Massachusetts employs nearly 7,000 civilians and thousands of contractors at a half dozen military bases and other businesses and facilities around the state.

 

Senator Markey said, "The Tea Party Republican shutdown of most of the federal government needs to be brought to an immediate end, but in the interim, legislation has been enacted to restore funding for activities that are important to our national defense, and the Pentagon should move forward quickly to implement this legislation."

 

In the letter sent today to Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, Senator Markey said: "I am writing to strongly urge you to use the 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. Massachusetts is the front line of defense along the East Coast for the entire nation. I believe that our national security is too important to be negatively impacted by any federal government shutdown."

 

The full text of the letter is below:

 

The Honorable Chuck Hagel

Secretary

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.  

 

 

Sincerely,

 

 

Edward J. Markey

 

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