Maine National Guard Forced to Furlough More Than 400, Governor LePage Urges Congress to Pay Our Troops
October 2, 2013
For Immediate Release: Wednesday, Oct. 2
Contact: Adrienne Bennett, Press Secretary, 207-287-2531
AUGUSTA – On Wednesday, Governor Paul R. LePage urged Mainers to contact their Congressional delegation and demand that they put federally funded employees of the National Guard back to work.
When the federal government shut down Tuesday, about 400 employees who work for the Air and Army National Guard were put on furlough. Many of these same employees, who are called “federal technicians,” were also impacted by furloughs that resulted from sequestration.
“Many Soldiers and Airmen who are considered ‘federal technicians’ are now deployed overseas,” said Governor LePage. “But if they came home today, they would be furloughed because of the shutdown. This is just wrong.”
The Governor said the government shutdown is a failure of the Commander and Chief and Congressional leadership in Washington, D.C., and our military service members should not be punished for it. “Some of these men and women have been deployed multiple times,” Governor LePage said. “Now they are being used to make a political point. This is a shameful tactic to use against Mainers who have put their life on the line to protect our freedoms.”
The Governor also urged Mainers to contact their Congressional delegates to guarantee that soldiers and airmen of the National Guard are included in the “Pay Our Military” act sponsored by Republicans and signed by President Barack Obama late Monday. The act mandates that service members will continue to receive paychecks despite the shutdown. But it is uncertain whether all National Guard members will be included in the “Pay Our Military” act.
Wednesday afternoon, Governor LePage sent a letter to Maine’s congressional delegation asking for support in ensuring that spirit of the “Pay Our Military Act” is upheld, and strongly urged them to ensure that National Guard Soldiers and Airmen are treated fairly. “I strongly believe that all service members, and the civilians that support them, should receive equitable and fair treatment under this law,” he wrote.
“To exclude these Soldiers and Airmen is unconscionable,” Governor LePage said. “The Maine National Guard can trace its lineage to 1760, even before the United States became a country. The Guard has been deployed in every war since then and has been called upon repeatedly to serve during the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. To say that the Guard is not part of the military is beyond absurd. It is offensive. Our brave men and women serving in the Guard should be treated with the respect and honor they deserve. Put them back to work today, and pay them what they are owed.”