Whip Clyburn: Stop Playing Politics with Defense Employees

Following Speaker Pelosi and Chairmen Obey and Murtha, the Democratic Whip reacts to White House threats to furlough Defense Department employees:

Clyburn: Stop Playing Politics with Defense Employees

Washington, D.C. — House Majority Whip James E. Clyburn today responded to a White House move to “send a message to Congress” about Iraq war funding by threatening to furlough Department of Defense employees. Following is an exchange from today between a reporter and White House spokeswoman, Dana Perino at the daily press briefing.

Question: Are you saying that these furloughs would begin before they come back from this vacation?

MS. PERINO: The notices. I’m not sure of the date. I know that they have to notice because under the rules you have to give people, I think it is 60 to 90 days worth of notice that they could be furloughed. So that could happen.

Question: So this is a way to remind Congress that you want them to pass this bill?

MS. PERINO: That’s exactly what that was.

“I'm disappointed the White House has chosen to play politics with government employees, especially as we begin the holiday season. If you want to send a message to Congress, write a letter or pick up the phone.

“The House passed a $50 billion bridge fund two weeks ago that provides funding for our troops on the ground in Iraq through February. But Senate Republicans stopped the bill, because they didn't agree with the conditions–troop readiness, prohibiting torture, and providing a plan to redeploy the troops by 2008. The American people spoke clearly last November that they wanted a New Direction in Iraq, yet Senate Republicans defied the will of the American people.

“It's time for the White House to send a message to Senate Republicans–pass the $50 billion bridge fund.”

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