Trump promises to pay federal workers after shutdown
President Trump has promised Democratic Sen. Tim Kaine (Va.) that he will sign a bill providing backpay to federal workers once the government shutdown, which has stretched 20 days, finally ends.
The Senate passed by unanimous consent legislation Thursday evening providing that federal workers — essential and furloughed employees — will be paid once the shutdown is over.
Federal employees are due to miss paychecks Friday, which has caused consternation in the Washington, DC, region.
Trump made his pledge in a phone call with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) as part of an effort to work out a deal to adjourn the Senate this week.
Kaine, who represents thousands of federal workers in Northern Virginia, threatened to block the adjournment resolution unless GOP leaders provided some assurance that they would be taken care of for time and paychecks missed because of the shutdown.
“I had an opportunity to talk to President Trump a few moments ago and wanted to indicate to our colleagues that he will sign the bill that we’ve been discussing here to guarantee that government workers who’ve been displaced as a result of the shutdown will ultimately be compensated,” McConnell announced on the Senate floor.
Kaine thanked the leader for working with him and said it was important to send a message to federal workers missing pay checks that they will be “made whole.”
“The best message that we could send — and I’m glad that [we are] able to send it by voice vote form this body — is that they will be paid. When we reopen, they will be paid,” Kaine said on the floor.
Kaine then withdrew his threat to object to adjournment.
The Senate will reconvene at 10 a.m. Friday. Some Democratic senators plan to take to the floor to talk about the hardships endured by government workers during the shutdown.
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