Republican Congressman Tom Cole is co-sponsoring a bill to protect DoD employess from furloughs. (Brett Deering / Getty Images)
The Defense Department would be prohibited from furloughing the 170,000 employees whose salaries are paid for by fees and other charges, under legislation introduced May 19.
Reps. Derek Kilmer, D-Wash., and Tom Cole, R-Okla., are pushing the legislation as an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act of 2015 passed by the House Armed Services Committee May 8 to protect the employees from future furloughs as a result of across-the-board budget cuts.
The employees are paid for using working capital funds and do not receive direct funding through the appropriations process, which means furloughing them does not save any money, according to the lawmakers.
“Sending these workers home without pay just means needlessly delaying projects that have already been funded,” Kilmer said in a press release.
Furloughing employees funded by working capital funds hurts the economy, delays production of needed goods and services and increases the need for overtime later, according to Cole.
“This amendment will prevent that from happening and protect our valuable personnel,” Cole said.