House panel schedules hearing over Pentagon civilian furloughs

Republican lawmakers argue that the law, which is the topic of next Thursday’s hearing, was intended to allow all Pentagon civilians to be exempted and continue working in a shutdown.

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The Pentagon has not taken that step. Defense Secretary Chuck HagelCharles (Chuck) Timothy HagelOvernight Defense: Latest on historic Korea summit | Trump says 'many people' interested in VA job | Pompeo thinks Trump likely to leave Iran deal Should Mike Pompeo be confirmed? Intel chief: Federal debt poses 'dire threat' to national security MORE said earlier this week that Pentagon lawyers were looking at the law to determine whether any more civilians could be brought back to work.

House Armed Services Chairman Buck McKeon (R-Calif.) sent a letter to Hagel on Tuesday asking for clarification on the Pentagon’s position and urging the department to use “broad latitude” in interpreting the law.

Roughly half of the Pentagon’s 800,000 civilian workforce have been furloughed due to the government shutdown.

The hearing does not yet have any witnesses scheduled.