The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

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October 5, 2013

Some federal employees have to work, with no pay in sight

Congressional leaders send letters urging pay for the military

(Continued)

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Sen. Joe Manchin and Jay Rockefeller, and 48 other bipartisan senators, along with Congressman Nick Rahall, all D-W.Va., sent a bipartisan, bicameral letter Friday to Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel urging that the National Guard and Reserves, and the civilians who support our troops, receive pay during the government shutdown.

Even though the “Pay Our Military Act” was quickly signed into law before the government shutdown to make sure all military personnel receive pay, there have been reports that many service members and civilians, especially in the National Guard and Reserves, have been furloughed without compensation, according to a release from Manchin.

“Before our government shut down, Washington unanimously agreed to make sure paychecks go out to our service members and those who dedicate their lives to protect us each and every day,” Manchin said.

“It is simply not fair and not right that the National Guard and Reserves and other civilians who also work on our national security have been furloughed and are forced to stay at home without receiving their paychecks. I am encouraged that so many of my colleagues on both sides of the aisle have swiftly come together to make this wrong a right. I thank the many West Virginia Guardsman and women, and their families, who contacted me about this issue: your voice matters.”

Rahall agreed in a separate letter with 85 House Republicans and Democrats to the Secretary of Defense: “Congress took action before the shutdown began to ensure that the men and women of our armed forces, including the Reserves and National Guard, would continue to be paid, and I am pressing the Department of Defense to adhere closely to that policy.”  

Rahall said there are many other West Virginians whose pay will be disrupted by this shutdown, as well as many who will be denied access to essential government services.

“The House needs to focus on the harm it is doing to families and businesses and pass legislation quickly to reopen the government and cease this ridiculous political standoff.”

The letter requested that the Department of Defense resolve any discrepancies immediately to make sure that those who serve this country, and their families, receive their paychecks.

— E-mail: wholdren@register-herald.com

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