Rep. John Barrow, D-Ga.

Rep. John Barrow, D-Ga. Stephen Morton/AP File Photo

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Lawmaker Proposes Exempting All Defense Civilians From Furloughs

Bill would allow the president to protect civilian personnel accounts from sequestration.

One lawmaker is seeking to extend furlough exemptions to all civilians at the Defense Department.

Rep. John Barrow, D-Ga., introduced a bill Monday -- the same day furloughs went into effect for roughly 650,000 Defense employees -- that would allow the president to exempt civilian workers from sequestration.

Currently within the Pentagon only active-duty military personnel are completely immune from forced unpaid leave. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel has spared some civilians from sequestration-induced furloughs, but Barrow’s bill would exempt “any civilian DoD personnel account.”

“Folks in [Georgia’s] 12th District are facing furloughs because Congress can’t get its act together long enough to replace these reckless cuts with more responsible savings,” Barrow told Government Executive. “I’m not going to wait around while congressional leaders spend every day placing blame on one another. My legislation keeps civilian employees on the job, and forces the DoD to find cuts elsewhere within their budget. It’s responsible, and it’s exactly the kind of solution the folks in the 12th District want.”