Great Falls News

Apr 6, 2013 10:11 PM by Jen Fenter - MTN News

Malmstrom employee urges Congress to address furloughs, sequestration

GREAT FALLS - The threat of furloughing civilian federal employees is still looming; officials with the Department of Defense have reduced the number of days off work from 22 to 14, but David Thomas, a civilian employee at Malmstrom Air Force Base, say he thinks our Congressional leaders should be doing more.

Thomas says that he is tired of the back and forth of Congressional leaders, and that their inability to agree and create a balanced budget is hurting the common citizens - and as a civilian employee, his paycheck is on the line.

If civilian employees have to give up some of their pay due to sequestration, Thomas believes that members of Congress creating these laws should have to do the same.

He says Congress is exempt from furlough status, but they don't have to be, and wanted to know where Montana's delegation stands.

Thomas says he's waited three weeks to get a reply from them, and never received the answer he was looking for, so we asked the same question. While none of them responded directly, we did get a response from each of them.

U.S. Senator Jon Tester's (D) office said, "Since 2007, Senator Tester's office has returned nearly $1.6 million to the Treasury through careful management of taxpayer resources...our careful budgeting stems from Senator Tester's pledge to Montanans to use taxpayer resources wisely and hold himself accountable."

A spokesperson from U.S. Senator Max Baucus' (D) office said: "Since 2000, Max has voted to block Congressional pay raises nearly 20 times. In that same time frame, Max has returned more than $2.5 million to the Treasury from his office budget. And just like folks across Montana, Max is tightening his belt and cutting office costs even further."

U.S. Representative Steve Daines (R) office said, "The Congressman is donating more than five percent of his annual income to charity...and has been fairly vocal about members of Congress and their pay...if the President and members of Congress don't do their job, produce budgets that achieve balance and take responsibility to make tough decisions on spending, they shouldn't just be donating a small percentage of their salary - they shouldn't be paid, period."

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