- What does “most” mean?
- I read the language of the law, which extremely broad and permissive.
- DoJ and, of course DoD (little difference) attorneys appear to have construed the language VERY, VERY narrowly
- SECDEF’s memo, link highlighted, follows suit, seeming to focus on employees doing things like handing out basketballs in the gym.
- Have heard nothing yet from my leadership, but suspect that Army will also take a very narrow interpretation, if for no other reason, to show that Army is tough and can press on w/o a full crew. Not at all sure they will chose to bring back the Army War Plans Division.
- White House obviously benefits from narrowest possible interpretation of language because it allows them to continue focus on Republican fringe as the political terrorists they have behaved like and that Mike Lukovich documented them to be in today’s cartoon “Axis of Evil 2013.”
- Standing by..
Stephanie Gaskell 2:39 PM ET
Hagel Orders Most Furloughed Civilian Employees Back to Work
DefenseSecretary Chuck Hagel announced Saturday that most of the 400,000 civilian defense workers who were furloughed due to the government shutdown can go back to work.
“I am now directing the military departments and other DoD components to move expeditiously to identify all employees whose activities fall under these categories,” Hagel said in a statement Saturday afternoon. “I expect us to be able to significantly reduce – but not eliminate – civilian furloughs under this process. Employees can expect to hear more information from their managers starting this weekend.”
“The Department of Defense consulted closely with the Department of Justice, which expressed its view that the law does not permit a blanket recall of all civilians,” Hagel said. “However, DoD and DOJ attorneys concluded that the law does allow the Department of Defense to eliminate furloughs for employees whose responsibilities contribute to the morale, well-being, capabilities and readiness of service members.”
The Justice Department said the Pay Our Military Act does not allow Hagel to lift all the furloughs, however, just those who provide “support to members of the Armed Forces.”
Hagel issueda memo to his top leaders to help them identify those personnel. Included under that category are suicide prevention and health care workers, TAPs program employees, family support programs, those providing maintenance and repair of weapons systems and platforms, commissary workers, any training associated with readiness, installation and facilities maintenance, payroll workers, anyone providing guidance, such as legal advice, to military members, and any legal, human resources and administrative support for any of the these duties.
“We will continue to try to bring all civilian employees back to work as soon as possible,” he said.
Earlier Saturday the House voted unanimously to approve back pay for all furloughed workers, which Hagel said he “strongly supports.”
“Ultimately,” he said, “the surest way to end these damaging and irresponsible furloughs, and to enable us to fulfill our mission as a department, is for Congress to pass a budget and restore funds for the entire federal government.”