Some FBI agents and federal prosecutors will have to stay home without pay if there's a government shutdown — and Attorney General Eric Holder said Monday he'd take a pay cut in solidarity with his furloughed workers, The Washington Times reports
"This has real-world consequences for the employees of this department, who have to pay mortgages, who have to pay car notes, who have to buy groceries," a visibly angry Holder said at a news conference. "And I think that is something that people, as they’re trying to make their political points . . . need to keep in mind, that there are good, hardworking Americans who are going to suffer because of this dysfunction.
"And I’m mad about that," Holder said, jabbing his finger toward the media crowd, Politico reported
Holder said while "people are trying to make a political point . . . I’m trying to run a Justice Department. We’re trying to keep the American people safe. We’re trying to keep crime down. We’re trying to go after financial crimes. There are a whole range of things that we are simply trying to do."
The Washington Times reported Justice Department officials were still evaluating how many furlough notices to send out in the event Congress and the White House failed to reach a temporary budget deal before midnight Monday.
"It is entirely possible that we will have to put on furlough FBI agents, prosecutors as a result of . . . the dysfunction that exists primarily in the House," Holder said.
And he added: "We will not do the job that the American people expect of us."
He said he considered himself a victim of any possible shutdown
"As I’ve made clear to the people in this department, we are all in this together, and whatever pain they suffer, I will share with them," Holder said.
Under the Justice Department's shutdown plan, about 85 percent of its personnel will be on duty even if the budget standoff continues, Politico noted
Most of them are considered essential because they are involved in criminal law enforcement or guarding prisoners or have to meet court-imposed deadlines. Some can keep working because their salaries come from accounts funded by forfeitures or user fees, Politico reported.
A more serious budget axe facing the department is the reduction required by sequestration, which doesn't exempt criminal enforcement or national security-related work.
"Unless something is done to relieve us of the burden of sequestration, I can say that FBI agents and prosecutors will be furloughed," Holder said. "What the number will be, we’re still in the process of working that through. Sequestration at the level we’ve have to deal with in past history, necessarily will result in furloughs."
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