Politics

Defense To End Civilian Furloughs, But They Could Return

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Responders from a National Guard CBRNE Enhanced Response Force Package (CERFP) during the Vigilant Guard 2013 exercise at Camp Blanding Joint Training Center, Fla., May 18, 2013. CBRNE stands for Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear, Explosive. (Source: Photo by Master Sgt. Thomas Kielbasa/Florida National Guard)

Responders from a National Guard CBRNE Enhanced Response Force Package (CERFP) during the Vigilant Guard 2013 exercise at Camp Blanding Joint Training Center, Fla., May 18, 2013. CBRNE stands for Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear, Explosive. (Source: Photo by Master Sgt. Thomas Kielbasa/Florida National Guard)

Politics

TALLAHASSEE (CBSMiami) — Civilian Defense Department workers in Florida and across the nation are getting some relief from furloughs that have forced them to take weekly unpaid days off since July 8.

Monday will be the last furlough day of the current fiscal year. However, the need for employee furloughs could return after the next federal fiscal year begins Oct. 1.

Gov. Rick Scott, who has criticized the potential impact of reducing civilian staff at the Florida National Guard, called the end of furloughs this year “great news.” He also expressed hope that the furloughs won’t be used again.

“It is crazy to cut the pay of our American heroes when fiscal savings has been offered from other areas that do not hurt Florida families or jeopardize our preparedness efforts during hurricane season,” Scott said in a release.

The Obama administration announced Tuesday that Defense Department furloughs have been cut from a planned 11 days to six.

The once-a-week furloughs have impacted roughly 1,000 Florida National Guard employees. Nationally, more than 650,000 Defense Department employees have already taken five furlough days.

The use of furloughs was implemented as part of a federal budget-cutting process known as “sequestration.”

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel announced Tuesday that without congressional changes to the Budget Control Act, the Defense Department will begin the next fiscal year needing to make $52 billion in cuts.

“This represents 40 percent more than this year’s sequester-mandated cuts of $37 billion,” Hagel said in a release. “Facing this uncertainty, I cannot be sure what will happen next year, but I want to assure our civilian employees that we will do everything possible to avoid more furloughs.”

“The News Service of Florida contributed to this report.”

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