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Cramer Requests Hagel End Furlough of Civilian Defense Employees, Votes to Fund Monuments and Parks

Oct 3, 2013
Press Release

Washington, D.C. – Today Congressman Kevin Cramer requested Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel follow existing law by ending the furlough of defense employees providing support to members of the Armed Forces, including civilians and contractors with the North Dakota National Guard. Cramer also voted to re-open national monuments and parks and fund other critical priorities during the federal government shutdown.

On September 30th, Congress passed and the President signed into law the Pay Our Military Act, providing pay and allowances for the Armed Forces including reserve components and civilian personnel and contractors providing support to members of the Armed Forces. The President’s Administration ignored this very broad authority granted by Congress by issuing furloughs to 85% of the North Dakota Army and Air National Guard technician force and many civilian and contractor employees at the Minot and Grand Forks Air Forces Bases.

In response, Cramer signed a letter to Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel requesting he allow our uniformed, civilian, and contractor employees to return to work without further delay given the broad authority given to him. Hagel told reporters on Tuesday his department was “examining the legislation”.

“While the President has ensured military members will continue to be paid during this government shutdown, we are disheartened that the Administration chose to needlessly furlough workers against the intent of Congress,” wrote Cramer and his colleagues. “Since all Department of Defense and U.S. Coast Guard civilian employees serve to support the uniformed forces, all of these civilian employees should be returned to work without further delay.”

Cramer also voted this evening to provide immediate funding for the continuing operation of national parks including Theodore Roosevelt National Park, public exhibits in Washington, D.C. including the World War II Memorial, and the National Institutes of Health.

It was reported yesterday hundreds of veterans flown to Washington, D.C. for the Honor Flight program swept past gates blocking the entrance to the World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C. The World War II Memorial is an open air site welcoming visitors 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, but was armed with National Park Police to block anyone from entering, including the veterans it was constructed to honor.

Prior to his time in Congress, Cramer served as Chairman of the Roughrider Honor Flight Committee. Hundreds of North Dakota World War II veterans were flown to Washington, D.C. at no personal expense to experience the memorials built in their honor.