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Hagel: House Vote is 'Astoundingly Irresponsible'

  • VOA News

U.S. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel turns to listen to a question from the traveling press aboard a U.S. military aircraft en route to Seoul, South Korea, Sept. 28, 2013.

U.S. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel turns to listen to a question from the traveling press aboard a U.S. military aircraft en route to Seoul, South Korea, Sept. 28, 2013.

U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel warned the lawmakers whose votes early Sunday moved the U.S. government closer to a shutdown about the ramifications of their move, saying that if the standoff on Capitol Hill continues, the United States will be ungovernable.

U.S. Republican lawmakers have demanded a one-year delay in President Barack Obama's healthcare program in exchange for funding government operations.

Hagel, a former Republican senator from Nebraska, spoke with reporters en route to Seoul to mark the 60th anniversary of the U.S.-South Korea defense alliance. He said he is not impressed with the "dangerously short-sighted" Republican House political strategy.

The White House has said it would veto the Republican bill.

Meanwhile, House members approved a measure to continue paying members of the military if the government shuts down. However, about half of the department's 800,000 civilian workers would be placed on unpaid leave if Congress fails to agree on a new budget by the close of the fiscal year Monday.

Federal agencies have made plans to furlough all non-essential employees starting Tuesday, the first day of the 2014 fiscal year, barring a vote in both chambers of Congress to fund the government beyond Monday night.
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