Freshman U.S. Rep. Denny Heck and the Joint Base Lewis McChord commander plan a telephone town hall meeting at 7 p.m. Tuesday for residents wanting to call in and learn about the effects of temporary furloughs and other spending cuts triggered by the federal sequestration. Once-a-week furloughs begin Friday for an estimated 10,000 civilian employees of the largest base of the West Coast.
Heck, the 10th district Democrat from Olympia, and Col. H. Charles Hodges Jr. will be taking calls from civilian workers, members of the military and the public. Those wanting to join in should dial toll free to 855-246-7045, ext. 21849.
Adam Ashton of The News Tribune wrote about the furloughs that are scheduled to occur every Friday for 11 weeks through Sept. 30.
In a news release Heck’s office said:
This call aims to be a “one stop shop” for anyone with questions regarding how these furloughs and sequestration will impact JBLM and its civil service workforce. Congressman Heck will answer questions about why the furloughs and federal sequestration budgets cuts are taking place. Colonel Hodges will answer questions about how JBLM is being impacted.
The News Tribune story said everything from “firing ranges to substance-abuse counseling” would be affected:
More than 10,000 civilian employees at Lewis-McChord are scheduled to start taking one unpaid day off each week for 11 weeks between Monday and Sept. 30. The furloughs are one of the ways the Pentagon is cutting costs because of the forced federal spending reductions known as sequestration.
The sequestration – also described as across-the-board cuts – came about as a result of Congress’ agreement to raise a debt limit in August 2011. The idea was that the cuts were too horrific ever to take effect but the Republican led U.S. House and Democrat led Senate have been unable to agree to an alternative, which has led to spending reductions that did not spare the Department of Defense.