U.S. House bill targets HAFB furlough
By Antone Clark, Standard-Examiner correspondent
WASHINGTON — An amendment sponsored by Congressman Rob Bishop, R-Utah, and passed by the House late Tuesday night will prevent the furlough of some civilian Department of Defense employees working at the Ogden Air Logistics Complex at Hill Air Force Base.
The amendment strengthens rules for workers paid by the self-sustaining Defense Working Capital Fund and would make them ineligible for furloughs initiated by sequestration cutbacks. Employees at capital fund depots are paid from fees customers pay, not from federal appropriations. The potential change affects workers at Hill Air Force Base, where about 11,000 civilian employees are furloughed for a total of up to 11 days until Sept. 30.
“Furloughing these employees not only violates the law, but it’s costing the DOD and taxpayers additional money by delaying production and increasing overhead,” Bishop said.
He said furloughing employees at the logistics complex will not yield any direct savings and could actually end up costing money.
“We must also take into consideration the impact it will have on readiness. I’m proud that the House passed this important amendment, which will ensure that the DOD cannot arbitrarily interpret or overlook federal laws,” the Brigham City Republican said.
Bishop and Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., met with Under Secretary Robert Hale on Tuesday to point out the illegality of furloughing civilian DOD employees at working fund depots under sequestration cutbacks.
Furloughs spurred by sequestration started July 8, with 650,000 defense employees taking the first of 11 required furlough days as part of $85 billion budget cuts.
Bishop’s spokeswoman, Melissa Subbotin, said the DOD may still implement furloughs of direct federal employees in the event they determine such actions are necessary, such as workload reductions associated with original budget cuts or changes associated with U.S. military efforts in Afghanistan and Iraq.
The OO-ALC at Hill is charged with performing maintenance on a number of Air Force weapons systems, including the F-16, the A-10 Thunderbolt, the B-2 and the LGM-30G Minuteman III systems. The center also handles landing gear systems, conventional munitions and composite materials.