Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

DEBATE

Europe's Plan for Putin - Will Russian Leader Bend After New Sanctions? (part 2)

Read more

DEBATE

Europe's Plan for Putin - Will Russian Leader Bend After New Sanctions?

Read more

FOCUS

Pakistan's Ahmadis living in fear of extremist attacks

Read more

WEB NEWS

Web users show solidarity with Iraqi Christians

Read more

THE INTERVIEW

Gilles Kepel, Islamic and Arab world specialist

Read more

BUSINESS DAILY

Argentina braced for another debt default

Read more

DEBATE

Too Late for Sanctions? Pressure Mounts on Russia over Ukraine (part 2)

Read more

DEBATE

Too Late for Sanctions? Pressure Mounts on Russia over Ukraine

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

'What would you do?'

Read more

  • US and EU slap Russia with fresh sanctions over Ukraine

    Read more

  • Scores killed as Israel ramps up Gaza bombardment

    Read more

  • Graphic: Ebola spreads across West Africa

    Read more

  • In pictures: ن - a sign of support for Iraq’s persecuted Christians

    Read more

  • Calls mount to ban France’s ‘violent’ Jewish Defence League

    Read more

  • Venezuela: Hugo Chavez’s ‘little bird’ strikes again

    Read more

  • France extradites suspected Jewish Museum shooter to Belgium

    Read more

  • Video: How tourism is helping Rwanda’s gorillas, ex-poachers

    Read more

  • Rare Sri Lankan leopard cubs born in French zoo

    Read more

  • France evacuates its nationals from Libya

    Read more

  • US says Russia violated arms treaty by testing cruise missile

    Read more

  • Argentina in last-ditch effort to avert default

    Read more

  • Karzai’s cousin killed in Afghan suicide attack

    Read more

  • Libya oil tanker fire blazes out of control

    Read more

  • In pictures: From Gaza to Mosul, bittersweet end of Ramadan for Muslims

    Read more

  • Moroccan police arrest French al Qaeda recruiter

    Read more

Americas

Pentagon to recall most workers despite shutdown

© AFP

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2013-10-06

US Defence Secretary Chuck Hagel announced on Saturday that the Pentagon will recall next week almost all of the 400,000 civilian employees who had been sent home because of the government shutdown.

The Pentagon said on Saturday it will recall most of the roughly 400,000 civilian Defense Department employees sent home during the government shutdown, in a move that could greatly lessen the impact of feuding in Washington on U.S. armed forces.

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said a legal review of the “Pay Our Military Act,” signed by President Barack Obama on Monday on the eve of the shutdown, would allow him to bring a still-unspecified number of civilians back to work next week.

“I expect us to be able to significantly reduce - but not eliminate - civilian furloughs under this process,” Hagel said.

“Employees can expect to hear more information from their managers starting this weekend.”

The last US federal shutdown

The US government shutdown of 1995 and 1996 ensued after Democratic President Bill Clinton and the Republican-controlled Congress failed to agree over funding for Medicare (government-funded healthcare for the elderly), environmental protection, and education in the federal budget. Clinton vetoed the spending bill sent to him by Congress, resulting in the suspension of non-essential government services and employees on November 14.

The approval of a temporary spending bill reopened the federal government just five days later, but the bill expired before a durable agreement was reached between Clinton and Congressional leader Newt Gingrich. Consequently, the government shut down for a second time on December 16 and remained closed until January 6, 1996, when Congress voted to end the shutdown and a budget compromise was reached.

Since the start of the shutdown, American troops have felt the fallout from the feuding in Washington despite legislation meant to protect them. Republicans in the House of Representatives have tried to defund or delay Obama’s signature healthcare law as a condition of funding the government, leading to the impasse.

With the shutdown, sailors have complained about delays in annual payments of re-enlistment bonuses, military academies have scaled back classes and key Pentagon offices have been hollowed out. Even U.S. commissaries selling groceries to military families have been shuttered.

For many of the civilians, it was the second time in as many months they were forced to take unpaid leave.

More than 600,000 civilian U.S. defense employees were required to take unpaid leave in early August in a bid to reduce spending after across-the-board budget cuts went into force in March.

“This has been a very disruptive year for our people,” Hagel said.

Hagel said the legal review determined that those civilians could return “whose responsibilities contribute to the morale, well-being, capabilities and readiness of covered military members.”

This apparently did not include certain categories of employees, like legislative affairs personnel who deal with Congress, according to a copy of Hagel’s implementation guidance sent to military chiefs.

Hagel also cautioned that while he would be able to bring back civilians, the “Pay Our Military Act” did not allow for the Defense Department to pay for some supplies necessary for many of them to do their jobs.

“Critical parts, or supplies, will run out, and there will be limited authority for the Department to purchase more,” Hagel said. “If there comes a time that workers are unable to do their work, I will be forced once again to send them home.”

Michael Steel, press secretary for House of Representatives Speaker John Boehner, said Hagel’s decision was in line with the thinking of Republicans, who passed a bill last week to pay the military during the government shutdown.

“That was always the clear intent of the House-passed bill,” Steel emailed Reuters.

Democrats have resisted efforts by Republicans to pass bills funding certain parts of the government such as the Veterans Administration and the National Park Service, insisting that the whole government be reopened.

Senator Edward Markey, a Massachusetts Democrat, said Hagel’s action was “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.”

(REUTERS)

Date created : 2013-10-05

  • USA - ASIA

    US government shutdown sees Obama cancel Asia trip

    Read more

  • USA - SHUTDOWN

    Obama 'exasperated' as shutdown talks fail

    Read more

  • USA - SHUTDOWN

    US firms offer freebies to workers hit by shutdown

    Read more

COMMENT(S)