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Steep Furloughs Hit Military Workers This Week

4:15 PM, Jul 8, 2013   |    comments
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Video: Furloughs Begin This Week At Military Installations

A sergeant in charge of sexual assault prevention at Ft. Hood is under investigation for sexual assault, the Pentagon announced Tuesday night. (Photo: AFP/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON (CBS) -- Monday means a day without pay for thousands of Americans who work in defense jobs --another effect of automatic federal budget cuts.

The furloughs starting July 8 affect 680,000 workers. For the next 11 weeks, they will lose 20 percent of their pay.

The furloughs will impact operations at every American military base around the world, except for some bases supporting combat.
"For (these workers) a 20 percent cut is a lot more money, means a lot more to them in terms of making those day-to-day payments," said Maureen Campell, who works on the staff of a Navy Admiral.

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said that to meet the budget goals of sequestration, he had to reduce the civilian payroll or further reduce the military itself.

"We've already cut into readiness," he said at a press conference. "You know that we are standing down 16 Air Force squadrons. We are not sailing a lot of ships. No new training in the Army."

In theory, the furloughs apply across the board to civilian workers, but there are notable exemptions. For example, military commissaries will close an extra day a week, but not military day care centers. Most shipyard workers building ships for the Navy are exempt. So are the civilian workers at Tinker Air Force base in Oklahoma, whose homes were destroyed by the F5 tornado in May.

But all those lost wages will harm local economies. Communities near the nation's largest military bases will lose tens of millions of dollars.

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