Republican Rep. Candice Miller accused the Obama administration of seeking to inflict the “maximum amount of pain” on active duty National Guard members who may have been improperly furloughed as part of the government shutdown.
“It was so unnecessary for these active duty members of our National Guard to ever be furloughed, particularly after the passage of the Pay Our Military Act which should have stopped furloughs for any active duty military members,” Miller, a Michigan congresswoman, said in a video statement as nine-hundred of her state’s active duty National Guard technicians returned to work this week.
“One can only conclude that the administration took these actions in order to cause the maximum amount of pain on members of our military during a government shutdown. To make matters worse, these furloughs clearly weakened our national security posture for no reason other than to try to score political points,” Miller said.
Though President Obama signed the House of Representatives’ temporary Pay Our Military Act September 30, more than 300,000 defense personnel were furloughed the next day, including National Guard members.
“I believe along with many others that [Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel] has improperly furloughed the National Guard employees. That was certainly not the intent of the act that we passed. For them to be furloughed — I quite frankly was stunned when he did that after we passed that bill,” Miller said.
Approximately 90 percent of furloughed defense employees are back at work following Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel’s weekend decision, after “legal review” and congressional urging, to recall them. Many are being told that they could be furloughed again October 17 in relation to the government’s debt-ceiling negotiations.