Budget cuts still hurt cemetery operations and investment, lawmakers told.
Civilian employees working at Arlington National Cemetery are exempt from unpaid furlough days, Army National Military Cemeteries Executive Director Kathryn Condon said on Wednesday.
Condon told a House Appropriations subcommittee that the exemption will allow burial ceremonies to proceed without major delays. The Army told Wired that across-the-board budget cuts from sequestration would have meant fewer burials—nearly 160 by one count—at the cemetery.
A spokeswoman for Arlington National Cemetery told Government Executive that a memo to employees sent on March 5 by Army Secretary John McHugh clarified the reasons civilian employees were not facing budget crunches.
"Because ANC civilian employees are not paid from funds appropriated for the defense function, the under secretary of Defense (comptroller) and chief financial officer has determined that ANC civilians are not subject to Office of the Secretary of Defense mandates on the furlough of civilian employees," McHugh said in the memo.
McHugh’s memo “exempted all Arlington personnel paid from the Cemeterial, Expense Army appropriation, from furloughs,” Condon said. Still, she noted that the rest of the cemetery was facing millions of dollars of cuts that would hinder money and investment toward modernization projects and upkeep.
“Despite the challenges that further sequestration funding guidance and the Continuing Resolution present, we can assure the nation of this: Burial services at Arlington will continue to be conducted with honor and dignity,” Condon said.
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