Phil Bryant writes letter to President Obama about sequestration - WDAM.COM - TV 7 - News, Weather and Sports

Phil Bryant writes letter to President Obama about sequestration

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HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) -

Three Gulf Coast governors, including Mississippi's Phil Bryant, have written a letter to President Obama asking him to exempt the National Guard from furloughs brought on by sequestration.

Governor Rick Scott of Florida, Bobby Jindal of Louisiana, and Bryant, say they are deeply concerned that furloughs will impact the readiness of the National Guard in responding to state and regional emergencies, particularly during the hurricane season. 1,400 Mississippi National Guardsmen statewide, including 290 at Camp Shelby, began the furloughs July 8th. Bryant says it reduces emergency responses by 20%.

"We're frustrated about sequestration," Bryant said.

"As you look at the amount of money that's being spent in the federal government, trips, for example, I don't mind anyone taking a trip, but apparently, we can afford for the president to take a very expensive trip while we're sequestering critical members of the Mississippi National Guard. It's hurricane season."

In addition to the sequestration, Camp Shelby was forced to lay off, or transfer, gate security guards because of Defense Department mandated budget cuts. The reduction in staff now means no guards are present at any military base entrances.