Seventeen senators have backed a bill to ensure federal employees would eventually get paid in the event of a government shutdown.
The Federal Employee Fair Treatment Act of 2017 (S. 861) is intended to establish full and quick compensation for federal workers who are furloughed or forced to work without pay should Congress fail to produce a government funding measure by April 28.
Along with expediting pay following the government reopening, the legislation also allows those required to work during a shutdown to take scheduled annual leave and sick leave.
Sen. Ben Cardin, D-Md., sponsored the bill, which is similar to a guaranteed back pay measure he introduced in 2015 when Congress last faced a possible shutdown.
"Our bill is the right thing to do and the fair thing to do," said Cardin in a news statement. "Federal workers are dedicated public servants who simply want to do their jobs on behalf of the American people. They shouldn't suffer because of extreme partisan gamesmanship."
Several federal employee unions have shown their support for the proposal. In an April 7 press release, National Treasury Employees Union National President Tony Reardon stated, "We are hopeful that Congress can avoid a disruption in government services. But just in case, it is good to know that Sen. Cardin and his colleagues are looking out for the federal employees who would otherwise be forced to pay for the political impasse."