Campaign 2010

Jul 30, 2013

Buck McKeon Calls for Pink Slips for California Defense Workers

As the U.S. Department of Defense struggles to deal with the fallout from sequestration, defense workers found out they have an enemy in Congressman Buck McKeon. Instead of working to stop devastating effects on the military and its employees, Congressman McKeon is instead calling for civilian defense workers to lose their jobs. More than 57,000 Defense Department civilian employees in California are already facing unpaid furlough days, and Congressman McKeon is adding to their uncertainty by threatening job losses – all because Congress is failing to solve the problem of defense furloughs.

“Rather than doing his job, Buck McKeon wants defense workers to lose theirs,” said Matt Inzeo of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. “Congressman McKeon should be leading the effort to reverse the damage sequestration is doing to our military, but instead he is succumbing to Washington’s gridlock and can’t be bothered to stand by California’s defense workers.”

BACKGROUND:

McKeon Said “He Favored Layoffs Rather Than Furloughs in Dealing with the Budget Cuts of Sequestration.” “The chairman of the House Armed Services Committee said at a downtown press conference today he favored layoffs rather than furloughs in dealing with the budget cuts of sequestration. While furloughs are designed to spread the pain of the budget cuts, permanent cuts would be more efficient, McKeon said. Sequestration, he added, is now the law and there is no clear path leading to undoing its cuts. ‘If you want to spread the pain over everybody and give everybody a 20 percent cut (through furloughs) or if you want to say who do we need the most (and make cuts to keep them), it's a tough decision either way,’ McKeon said. ‘But I think this is not something that's going to go away in a couple of months or six months. We've dug this hole over the last several years and it's not going to turn around overnight. Unless we can get a real good uptick in the economy and I don't see that happening overnight, so it's going to take some time. I think, personally, it's better to take the pain than to dribble it out over a long period of time.’” [WWNT Radio, 7/30/13]

57,000 Californians Will be Furloughed, Amounting to $189 Million in Lost Wages. According to the Department of Defense, “California will see about 57,000 civilian workers furloughed,” amounting to $189 million in lost wages. [Bloomberg, 5/30/13]

Department Of Defense Expected to Take Another $52 Billion Hit on October 1st. On July 11th,  Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel warned that failure by Congress to end budget sequestration could force the services in fiscal 2014 to freeze military promotions, suspend recruiting and halt all change-of-station moves, without relief, defense spending will take another $52 billion hit in the fiscal year that begins October 1st. [Military.com, 7/11/13]

McKeon Voted to Implement the Sequester. In 2011, McKeon voted for the Budget Control Act that included the sequestration cuts. The bill passed, 269-161. [S 365, Vote #690, 8/1/11]