Dear Duncan D. Hunter, U.S. House of Representatives,
Furloughed federal employees will get paid later for all this time off. But congress forgot the National Guard. We were not included in the pay the troops bill. I've had to perform duty without pay last week. Now, our monthly training has been canceled.
I am a Sergeant with a bunch of Soldiers who now will miss about $400 in pay (this was going to be a 3-day drill). These guys depend on this money for college and living expenses.
I sometimes have homeless Soldiers staying at my home as they try to get back on their feet after the economy has taken its toll.
Are you going to take care of the troops?
We make a lot less than most federal employees (often less than minimum wage when our typical day of duty is 16 hours of work). Do we deserve the worst treatment?
Six months ago, I was decorated with the Army Commendation Medal for the way I take care of my troops. I think it's your turn.
-SGT Gary Westergren.
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Thank you for contacting me with your thoughts on the lapse in appropriations. I appreciate the opportunity to respond to you on these important issues.
As you are aware, spending authority for the federal government expired on September 30. Prior to the deadline, the House sent funding measures to the Senate on three separate occasions. Unfortunately, the Senate blocked those efforts. It was not my desire to have a lapse in government funding, and I am well aware of the harmful consequence that this action brings.
It's for this reason that I supported H.R. 3230, the Pay Our Guard Reserve Act, when it passed the House on October 3, 2013 by a vote of 265-160. This bill would ensure that funding for the National Guard continues to receive funding through the lapse in appropriations. You may also be interested to know that I voted for, and I am a cosponsor of H.R. 3223, the Federal Employee Retroactive Pay Fairness Act, which will ensure that federal employees that were furloughed due to the lapse in appropriations receive their pay. It is my hope the Senate and the President will follow through with these measures.
As the discussions over government spending continue, I have elected to suspend my pay until funding resumes. You can be assured that I will keep your comments firmly in mind as debate on the Fiscal Year 2014 spending measures continues.
Thank you once again for contacting me. If you have any additional questions or concerns please do not hesitate to let me know.
Member of Congress