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Senators had urged Secretary of Defense to avoid furloughing civilian workers at public shipyards, including Portsmouth

(Washington, DC) - Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Kelly Ayotte (R-NH), Chair and Ranking Member of the Senate Armed Services Readiness and Management Subcommittee, welcomed a Pentagon announcement today that declared “employees in Navy shipyards will be excepted from furlough,” including those employees at Portsmouth Naval Shipyard.  

“We’re pleased that the Department of Defense and the Navy recognize the importance of shipyard workers to our national security.  This exemption should allow the workers at our four public shipyards, including Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, to continue their critical work maintaining our nation’s naval readiness without interruption.  This announcement gives our shipyard employees the financial certainty they deserve and allows the shipyards to avoid furloughs that would have resulted in costly delays in ship and submarine maintenance.”

On April 17, 2013, Senators Shaheen and Ayotte sent a letter to Secretary Hagel urging him to grant the Navy and Marine Corps the flexibility to move forward with their proposal to safely shift money from other accounts to avoid civilian furloughs.  Senators Shaheen and Ayotte have also questioned multiple Navy and DoD officials at Senate Armed Services Committee hearings about the risks furloughs could pose to readiness.   

Today, Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel announced that the Department of Defense will proceed with furloughs for its 800,000 civilian employees.  According to the announcement, the furlough period will be reduced from 14 days to 11 days or fewer and the types of workers that can be exempt from furloughs will be expanded to include public shipyard workers.