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Air Guard furlough total reaches 200

Update reveals larger effect of spending cuts

– About 30 more employee furloughs are expected at Fort Wayne’s Air National Guard than were originally reported this week if federal spending cuts take effect in March.

A spokesman for the 122nd Fighter Wing said Wednesday that 170 people would be furloughed without pay for 22 days unless spending reductions known as sequestration are delayed or struck down by Congress. On Friday, the spokesman put the number of affected workers at 200.

That is more than half of the full-time force at the Ferguson Road base.

Civilian personnel classified as military technicians would take a day of unpaid leave each week for 22 weeks starting in late April.

Rep. Marlin Stutzman, R-3rd, blames President Obama for future spending cuts that Congress approved in 2011. The reductions would total $1.2 trillion over 10 years, with nearly half coming from the Department of Defense.

“The threat facing our Air National Guard is one of the reasons I voted against President Obama’s sequester in 2011 and it is one of the reasons I am committed to seeing the president’s defense cuts replaced with common-sense cuts to government waste,” Stutzman said in a prepared statement.

“We’ve passed two bills in the House to do exactly that. It’s time for President Obama to lead.”

Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said Wednesday that 800,000 civilian employees in the military would be furloughed without pay for 22 days as part of the Pentagon’s plan to meet sequester requirements of $46 billion in cuts for fiscal 2013.

Nearly 1,000 of those employees are members of the Indiana National Guard.

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