On Monday, Barack Obama signed a bill that would gurantee the pay of both military personnel and civilians working for the military. By Thursday, Obama furloughed 2,000 civilian employees at Offutt Air Force Base. That constitutes 67% of all civilian employees. The bill had passed the House unanimously, 423-0. The Senate passed the bill by unanimous consent.
On Friday, in an interview with Breitbart News, Rep. Lee Terry (R-NE), called the furloughs illegal. The Pay Our Military Act assures that these 2,000 people will be paid no matter what, therefore the furlough amounts to a paid vacation and is in keeping with the White House program of causing as much pain as possible and blaming it on the Republicans.
"I’m very upset with the White House decision to force furloughs, which I think are illegal furloughs because the law he signed last Saturday. This is a political game that they’re playing, endangering this country. They’ve had to lay off over 60 percent of their civilian employees, who are all basically retired military who just keep the same jobs and become civilians. These are integral people to protecting our nuclear arsenal and to our military readiness. This is a dangerous game this president is playing.”
A representative of Terry's office added:
“Airplane mechanics are being furloughed. How is that not critical to getting an airplane off the ground if we need to? This is an illegal furlough. The President is completely breaking the law. Congress passed it unanimously, he signed it into law, and now he’s breaking that very law.”
Offutt Air Force Base is the home of the US Strategic Command. (STRATCOM) STRATCOM is the clearing house for most intelligence used to keep the president informed of the latest intelligence.
On Thursday, Terry wrote to President Obama:
“I have been doing some research on this issue over the last couple of days. I have found that both the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) and the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) have directed Acting Under Secretary of the Air Force Jamie Morin to direct the combatant commands to hold the line and not allow anyone other than ‘excepted’ employees to work. This is contrary to what Congress intended and needs to be rectified as soon as possible….This is unacceptable and needs to be overruled. Mr. President, Congress specifically sent this bipartisan legislation to you for your signature, because we all believe that these hard working patriots should not be pawns in this chess game”
Terry concluded with:
“It is very important as Commander-in-Chief to direct all of the combat commands to follow the law and bring back the workers who have been furloughed and do it as soon as possible.”
Rep Michelle Bachmann said that the president was jeopardizing national security.
“President Obama is jeopardizing our national security just to play politics on this shutdown.”