Update: Jan. 3, 4:45 p.m.
Thirty senators signed on to reintroduce legislation that would guarantee federal employee back pay at the end of the partial government shutdown. The first bill was passed unanimously in the Senate prior to the shutdown taking effect, but expired without the House taking action.
“Federal workers are dedicated public servants who simply want to do their jobs on behalf of the American people. They shouldn’t continue to suffer — working dangerous jobs without knowing when their next paycheck may come, or being forcibly furloughed and unable to carry out their mission — because of extreme partisan gamesmanship,” said Sen. Ben Cardin, D-Md.
“This and all government shutdowns have real consequences for hard-working federal employees across the country and the local economies they support as consumers. Congress should pass this bill and the president should sign it as a symbol of good faith and respect for the men and women who keep our country safe and moving forward.”
The Senate is going into emergency preparations in advance of a potential partial government shutdown scheduled to happen if Congress cannot pass a spending bill by the end of Dec. 21.
A bill that would ensure federal employees receive pay for the duration of a shutdown and after appropriations are legislated was passed unanimously in the Senate, as Congress scrambles to come up with an appropriations bill agreeable to all parties before the midnight deadline.
“We’re going to continue to fight to keep government functioning,” said Sen. Ben Cardin, D-Md., in a speech on the Senate floor. “By this action, we are telling you that when we have appropriations restored, you will be compensated for that time.”
Congress has generally voted to restore federal employee pay after a government shutdown has occurred, but this bill would proactively guarantee that feds get paid following a potential shutdown.
“Federal employees should not be punished – and their paychecks held hostage – by the government dysfunction that leads to a shutdown. I was pleased to get this legislation passed tonight in the Senate, and I urge my colleagues in the House of Representatives to pass it without delay," said Sen. Chris Van Hollen, D-Md. "As we work to avoid a shutdown all together, providing our federal workforce with the certainty that they will receive their paycheck is the right thing to do.”
The legislation now moves on to the House for consideration.
Jessie Bur covers federal IT and management.