What: All Issues : War & Peace : HR 1268. Fiscal 2005 Supplemental Appropriations/Vote to Defeat an Amendment To Insure that Federal Workers Who Are Called to Active Duty as National Guardspersons or Reservists Do Not Suffer a Cut in Pay For Their Military Service. (2005 senate Roll Call 91)
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HR 1268. Fiscal 2005 Supplemental Appropriations/Vote to Defeat an Amendment To Insure that Federal Workers Who Are Called to Active Duty as National Guardspersons or Reservists Do Not Suffer a Cut in Pay For Their Military Service.
senate Roll Call 91     Apr 13, 2005
Progressive Position:
Nay
Progressive Result:
Win

About 120,000 federal employees serve in the National Guard or Reserve, and about 17,000 have been mobilized and deployed overseas. Many of these full-time federal workers and part-time soldiers suffer a cut in pay for their military service, a situation which can cause great financial hardship to them and their families back home. According to a May 2004 study by the Department of Defense, 51 percent of National Guardspersons and Reservists suffer a loss of income when mobilized for long periods of active duty because military pay is less than the pay in their civilian jobs. That study indicated that the average reservist loses $368 a month, or $4,300 a year, in income. During debate on the 2005 Supplemental Appropriations bill for military operations and reconstruction in Iraq and Afghanistan and disaster relief assistance for victims of the December 2004 tsunami, Senator Durbin (D-IL) proposed an amendment which would have insured that those federal employees who are called to active service continue to be paid at a rate equal to their federal jobs. Progressives supported Durbin's amendment as a way to reduce the financial hardship on soldiers and their families caused by military service. "For those who work in the Federal workforce," explained Senator Durbin, "this is something tangible we can do. We can make up the difference in lost pay. We can say to them, worry about coming home safely, but don't worry about whether your family is going to make the mortgage payment and pay the utility bills and keep things together while you are overseas." Conservatives opposed Durbin's amendment and argued that the spending contained within it was extraneous. In the words of Senator Gregg (R-NH), "I know the temptation is strong, almost irresistible, for my colleagues to attempt to amend the [supplemental appropriations] bill with extraneous items that may be quite important-but this is not the place for them. I will strongly object to making this supplemental appropriations bill ``Christmas in April'' for various nondefense discretionary items and for new or expanded mandatory spending." During debate on the Durbin amendment, Senator Stevens (R-AK) motioned to table (strike down) the proposal, a motion which Progressives opposed based on their support for Durbin's measure. The motion to table failed on a 39-61 vote, Durbin's amendment was subsequently adopted by voice vote, and the additional compensation to federal workers called to active duty as National Guardspersons or Reservists was added to the Senate's version of the supplemental spending bill.

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