(Stephen Morton/AP) - Rep. John Barrow (D-Ga.). Rep. John Barrow (D-Ga.). (Stephen Morton/AP)

A Democratic congressman has introduced legislation to prohibit furloughs for civilian Defense employees, who face one of the heaviest burdens among federal workers under the government-wide spending cuts known as the sequester.

Rep. John Barrow (D-Ga.) has proposed a bill that would exempt the military’s civilian employees and require the Pentagon to find savings elsewhere in its budget. Active-duty military personnel are already immune from furloughs.

The Defense Department’s sequester plan requires 11 days of unpaid leave for civilian workers between now and the end of September, resulting in a 20 percent reduction in pay during that period.

Barrow said the furloughs, which started on Monday, will affect more than 3,200 people in his district. He blamed partisan gridlock for the reductions.

“Congress can’t get it’s act together long enough to replace these reckless cuts with more responsible savings,” Barrow said in a statement on Wednesday. “I’m not waiting around while Congressional leaders spend all their time blaming each other.”

The congressman has introduced a second bill that would exempt civilian Defense employees from furloughs if they’ve served on active duty after passage of the 2011 Budget Control Act, which established the sequester as a mechanism to urge lawmakers toward a debt-reduction deal.

“I won’t let Washington’s dysfunction trickle down to the folks who fight for this country every day,” Barrow said.

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