Fox News swung through the South Sound this week to highlight two extremes in military spending here.
On one hand, the Defense Department is cutting pay for 10,000 civilian employees at Joint Base Lewis-McChord by compelling them to take 11 unpaid days off from now until September.
On the other, it’s contributing about $4 million to a habitat preservation effort aimed at protecting several threatened species, such as the Mazama pocket gopher.
“That really makes me mad that they would do that,” said Matt Hines, who works in Lewis-McChord’s Waller Hall. His wife and son also are civilian employees at the base, he said at a press conference with Democratic Sen. Patty Murray earlier this year.
“I’m all for saving animals, but at what cost?” he told Fox.
Murray, meanwhile, on Thursday took to the Senate floor to urge lawmakers to pass a budget that would replace the forced spending cuts known as sequestration and free up the military to end its furloughs.
About 650,000 Defense Department civilian workers are taking the furloughs this summer as part of the military’s plan to cope with $40 billion in forced cuts this year. The military stands to lose another $500 billion over the next decade unless Congress ends the forced spending cuts. Here’s Murray’s speech.