Reid: It’s ‘cruel’ to keep shutdown going

Senate Majority Leader Harry ReidHarry ReidOvernight Defense: VA chief 'deeply' regrets Disney remark; Senate fight brews over Gitmo Overnight Healthcare: House loosens pesticide rules to fight Zika | A GOP bill that keeps some of ObamaCare | More proof of pending premium hikes The Trail 2016: Digging up dirt MORE (D-Nev.) said Saturday that it was “cruel” of the House to pass a bill to retroactively pay federal workers affected by the government shutdown, but then not vote on a bill to reopen the government.

“The House has passed a bill to pay federal furloughed employees, but listen to this, once the government opens,” Reid said. “Well why wouldn’t we do that? … It’s really cruel to tell the workers they’ll get back pay but then not reopen the government.”

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Earlier Saturday, the House voted 407-0 for H.R. 3223, the Federal Employee Retroactive Pay Fairness Act, which upholds the longstanding tradition of paying back federal workers hit by government shutdowns. The Senate is expected to approve the measure, which the White House says President Obama wll sign.

Lawmakers are still at an impasse on how to pass a continuing resolution (CR) to fund the government, which has been shutdown since midnight Tuesday. 

Reid said Republicans treat federal workers as if they’re a “lower class of people.”

“We like federal employees on this side of the aisle,” Reid said during a rare Saturday session. “I want them to work.”

Reid has said Speaker John BoehnerJohn BoehnerOvernight Finance: GOP makes its case for impeaching IRS chief | Clinton hits Trump over housing crash remarks | Ryan's big Puerto Rico win House GOP changes rules to thwart Dems Ryan secures big win with bipartisan Puerto Rico deal MORE (R-Ohio) holds the “key” to reopening the government by holding a simple up-or-down vote on the Senate-passed 6-week CR.

"Why don’t we open the government and let people go to work and do their jobs," Reid said. "Let them go to work."


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