“The bill does not limit the provision of pay to civilians or certain service members who were previously categorized by the administration as 'excepted' or 'essential' during sequestration furloughs,” the senators wrote.
After President Obama this week signed the “Pay Our Military Act,” which provided pay to troops during the shutdown, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel told Pentagon lawyers to determine whether the law allowed more civilians to return to work.
So far the Pentagon has not moved to do so, however.
House Republicans quickly pushed the Pentagon to stop furloughing its workers, and House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) accused the White House of “using DOD workers to play political games.”
The Senate letter, which was headed up by Sens. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Jerry Moran (R-Kan.), includes 29 Democrats and 19 Republicans, making the congressional push for the Pentagon to end civilian furloughs a bipartisan one.
“Congress has given you the authority to maintain our national security without interruption,” the senators wrote. “We strongly believe that all service members, and the civilians that support them, should receive equitable and fair treatment under this law.”