Bill calls for two weeks of federal furlough

Friday - 9/17/2010, 4:14pm EDT

By Jolie Lee
Federal News Radio

Rep. Mike Coffman (R-CO) introduced a bill this week that would require two weeks of furlough in 2011 for federal civilian employees. The furloughs would save taxpayers $5.5 billion, according to a release about the bill.

"[Furloughs] provide slight problems but they provide large solutions to the budget trouble we face," Coffman said.

Coffman's bill, H.R.6134 would make two weeks of unpaid non-consecutive furlough days mandatory, reduce appropriations for salaries and expenses for legislative branch offices, and provide a 10 percent reduction in pay for members of Congress. There are exceptions for national security or reasons related to public health or safety.

In his introduction to the bill, Coffman pointed out that at least 24 states have instituted short-term furloughs, mentioning that Furlough Fridays are happening at the state and local levels.

"I would like to make the U.S. Government as cost conscious as the states," Coffman said. "My legislation is a start."