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updated: 9/28/2013 9:10 PM

Hagel calls govt shutdown threat 'shortsighted'

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  • U.S. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel speaks to the traveling press aboard a U.S. military aircraft plane en route to Seoul, South Korea, for celebrations marking the 60th anniversary of the Korean War armistice agreement on Saturday. Hagel remarked on the budget battle in Congress saying, "this is an astoundingly irresponsible way to govern." Hagel will also be traveling to Japan to meet with top defense and diplomatic leaders.

      U.S. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel speaks to the traveling press aboard a U.S. military aircraft plane en route to Seoul, South Korea, for celebrations marking the 60th anniversary of the Korean War armistice agreement on Saturday. Hagel remarked on the budget battle in Congress saying, "this is an astoundingly irresponsible way to govern." Hagel will also be traveling to Japan to meet with top defense and diplomatic leaders.
    Associated Press

 
Associated Press

ABOARD A U.S. MILITARY AIRCRAFT -- Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel is criticizing Congress as "astoundingly irresponsible," and says that using threats to shut down the government to satisfy a political whim is dangerously shortsighted.

Hagel oversees as much as half of the government civilians who would be furloughed next week if Congress fails to agree on a short-term spending plan to keep the government running. Roughly 400,000 Defense Department civilians could face furloughs.

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The defense secretary tells reporters that the impasse threatens to delay paychecks to troops serving in Afghanistan. He also warns that such actions will lead to the United States of America becoming a country that's "ungovernable."

Hagel made the comments Saturday while flying to South Korea for meetings with top defense and diplomatic leaders from South Korea and Japan.

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