Senator Dan Coats on Friday joined a bipartisan coalition of 50 senators to urge Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel to comply with the recently passed Pay our Military Act by protecting National Guardsmen and Reservists from furloughs during the government shutdown.
In their letter to Secretary Hagel, the senators wrote: "We are receiving disturbing and conflicting reports from constituents and military personnel that uniformed service members and civilians who are directly supporting troops, including those in combat, are being furloughed. Beyond the impact on the National Guard and Reserves, we have also received reports of civilians who have been furloughed, even though they directly support deployed troops and their family members."
They added, "The law that we recently passed is explicitly clear: all members of the Armed Forces, including Reserve component personnel who perform active service, will be paid in the event of a government shutdown."
The Pay Our Military Act passed unanimously in the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate and was signed into law on September 30. The law appropriates funds for pay and allowances to "members of the Armed Forces, including reserve components, who perform active service during such period" as well as "civilian personnel of the Department of Defense."
Earlier this week, Coats urged the Senate to pass the Pay Our Guard and Reserve Act, which also would ensure funding is provided for the pay and allowances of military personnel in the reserve component who are scheduled to report for duty as early as this weekend.
Indiana has over 20,000 reservists and guardsmen and is home to two Air National Guard wings, the 122nd Fighter Wing in Fort Wayne and the 181st Intelligence Wing in Terre Haute, as well as the 434th Air Refueling Wing at Grissom Air Reserve Base.