CONCORD, N.H. (AP) — The U.S. senators from New Hampshire and Maine are asking the Defense Department to reconsider policy changes regarding expenses for workers at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard and other shipyards.

The policy regards long-term temporary duty expenses for shipyard workers. A letter to Defense Secretary Ashton Carter calls on the department to consider flexibility to ensure shipyard workers don’t have to pay out of their pockets for meals and incidental expenses.

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Changes include a 25-percent cut to the per diem allowance and the lodging stipend for travel in excess of 30 days, and a 45-percent cut for travel longer than 180 days.

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Sens. Jeanne Shaheen and Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire and Susan Collins and Angus King of Maine signed the letter this week.

“Shipyard employees often volunteer for long-term temporary duty expense assignments to conduct critical maintenance on the naval fleet at other shipyards and bases, often in high-cost areas,” the letter said. “The efforts of highly skilled shipyard employees ensure our naval fleet is deployed in a safe, affordable and timely manner.”

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