Blunt keeps pushing furlough flexibility

Published online: Mar 20, 2013
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Democrats this week blocked an amendment that Sen. Roy Blunt wanted so he is now introducing a stand-alone bill to provide flexibility to keep essential workers from being furloughed because of sequestration cuts.

Blunt cites an Obama administration memo from the office of personnel management in April 2011 that outlined which federal workers would be exempt from furloughs in the event of a government shutdown. Blunt says it's the same language that was used in President Clinton's administration in preparation for the 1995 government shut down.

Blunt says, "If it's good enough for President Clinton to tell `em to report to work and if it's good enough for President Obama in April of `11 to tell `em to report to work it should be good enough now for the Secretary of Agriculture and the Secretary of Transportation and the Secretary of Homeland Security and anyone else where these people are being furloughed to do so."

Senate leadership has agreed to let an amendment that Missouri Sen. Roy Blunt cosponsors with Arkansas Sen. Mark Pryor be considered for a continuing resolution on government funding to keep meat inspectors and other essential federal employees working.

They want $55 million transferred from existing USDA programs to the Food Safety & Inspection Service (FSIS) to make sure inspectors of poultry, beef, pork and egg processing are not furloughed. Without them, he says, 146 such plants in Missouri face closings and layoffs.