Veterans Take Heavy Hit From Sequestration | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio

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Veterans Take Heavy Hit From Sequestration

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It's only the civilian side of the Defense Department that faces furlough days because of sequestration. But many of those civilians are also veterans.

Pentagon remains the largest employer of veterans in the federal government. Now, after getting praised by lawmakers across the country on Memorial Day, these families face a pay cut put in place by those very same lawmakers.

"Rather than them getting paid after the fact, as you did when the government shut down, their pay is going to get docked," says Rep. Jim Moran, D-Va. "They're never going to get reimbursed, and for this week they will get a 20 percent pay cut. So it's just starting now, and I fear not just for the lives of those individuals and their families, but also for what it's going to do to economies such as the Washington metropolitan area. It's going to hurt."

In the wake of recent scandals, the Pentagon announced civilian sexual assault prevention workers are exempt from furloughs.

Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va. says other workers being furloughed also play a critical support role for troops.

"These 90,000 civilians... there is the cavalier attitude about them," he says. "These include nurses at Belvoir Community Hospital who are taking care of wounded warriors. These are people doing really important jobs, and there is such a cavalier attitude about it."

Members of both parties continue to cast blame for the sequestration, yet serious negotiations remain stalled because of disagreements on taxes.

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