By Chris Kieffer
The Mississippi National Guard recalled on Monday almost 1,400 military technicians who had been furloughed since the government shutdown began on Oct. 1.
Those workers will return to work today as the result of a weekend announcement by U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel to recall about 350,000 furloughed civilian workers throughout the country. That’s because of a broad interpretation of the “Pay Our Military Act,” signed into law on Sept. 30, shortly before the shutdown began.
The act ensures uniformed members of the military will continue to be paid, but also applies to “employees whose responsibilities contribute to the morale, well-being, capabilities and readiness of service members.” Hagel determined that applied to most of the Pentagon’s furloughed employees.
In Mississippi, only about a half dozen military technicians will not fall under that language, said Lt. Col. Tim Powell, spokesman for the Mississippi National Guard. That will leave about 700 Mississippi National Guard employees furloughed he said, with most of those being state employees that are paid with federal dollars.
Only the federal military technicians were recalled on Monday.
The state’s national guard has about 12,200 members, most of whom were not furloughed.
Hagel warned that if the shutdown continues, he may have to renew the furloughs, according to the Wall Street Journal.