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Pentagon Furlough Days Inflated

8:39 AM, Jul 30, 2013 • By DANIEL HALPER
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When Congress was debating implementation of the sequester, the Pentagon released a report saying that if the cuts were to kick in, civilian personnel could be furloughed for 22 days -- nearly a month's worth of work. But now that the sequester has kicked in, those furlough days appear to have been inflated.

In fact, the AP reports, "Defense department civilians will likely face up to five fewer unpaid furlough days than originally planned, as Pentagon leaders scrimp to find up to $900 million in savings in the final months of the budget year that ends Sept. 30, officials told The Associated Press."

Officials said no final decisions have been made, but they believe civilian workers will be forced to take six to eight unpaid days off rather than the 11 days that had been scheduled. The move comes as workers begin their fourth week of furloughs — a decision that riled department employees and prompted many to complain directly to Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel as he visited military bases earlier this month.

By contrast, in the middle of the political debate, Zachary A. Goldfarb and Ernesto Londoño of the Washington Post that has proven to be completely off-base.

"The Pentagon warned 800,000 civilian employees worldwide Wednesday that they will be forced to take unpaid leave if deep budget cuts take effect next week, fueling growing anxiety about the impact of the automatic spending reductions on the nation’s economy and security," the Post reported in February.

"In the most detailed account of the ramifications of across-the-board cuts, called the sequester, Defense Department officials said civilian personnel could be put on leave one day a week for 22 weeks — effectively cutting their pay by 20 percent for nearly six months. According to the Office of Personnel Management, 107,000 of these workers live in the District, Maryland and Virginia."

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