Dems push retroactive pay for federal workers in case of shutdown

Greg Nash

Senate Democrats are pushing legislation to retroactively pay federal workers who will be furloughed if there is a government shutdown. 

Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), as well as Democratic Sens. Tammy Baldwin (Wis.), Ben Cardin (Md.), Tom Carper (Del.), Kirsten Gillibrand (N.Y.), Mazie Hirono (Hawaii), Tim Kaine (Va.), Patrick Leahy (Vt.), Barbara Mikulski (Md.), Jeanne Shaheen (N.H.) and Mark Warner (Va.), have introduced the proposal ahead of the end-of-the-month deadline to pass a spending bill.

According to the legislation, “each Federal employee furloughed as a result of a covered lapse in appropriations shall be paid for the period of the lapse in appropriations … at the earliest date possible after the lapse in appropriations ends, regardless of scheduled pay dates.” 

{mosads}Democrats are also using the Senate’s fast-track process — known as “Rule 14” — to let the legislation skip the committee process and go directly to the Senate floor where it could be brought up for a vote. No vote on the legislation has been scheduled.

Reid, in a statement, said that federal workers “should not suffer real hardships because of Republicans’ inability to govern responsibly.”

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has teed up a procedural vote Thursday on a short-term spending bill that would also defund Planned Parenthood.

The move, aimed at placating conservatives, is expected to fail to get the 60 votes needed to overcome the procedural hurdle. 

The question of whether to pursue legislation defunding Planned Parenthood has divided Senate Republicans.

While Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), who is running for president, has vowed to oppose a spending bill that didn’t defund the organization, Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.) said the Senate is holding “political show votes.”

McConnell could move to tee up a “clean” short-term spending bill after Thursday’s vote, though the Republican leader is remaining tightlipped about his plans.

“We’ll let you know the way forward after we see what happens Thursday afternoon,” he told reporters on Tuesday when asked about his next steps. 

Reps. Don Beyer (D-Va.) and Rob Wittman (R-Va.) sent a letter to their colleagues in the House this week to trying shore up support for a similar proposal on paying federal workers.

Tags Barbara Mikulski Ben Cardin Harry Reid Jeanne Shaheen Kelly Ayotte Kirsten Gillibrand Mark Warner Mazie Hirono Mitch McConnell Patrick Leahy Rob Wittman Tammy Baldwin Ted Cruz Tim Kaine Tom Carper

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