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GOP senators propose bill to pay 'excepted' workers during shutdown

GOP senators propose bill to pay 'excepted'  workers during shutdown
© Stefani Reynolds

GOP Sens. Ron JohnsonRonald (Ron) Harold JohnsonGrassley says he'll decide this fall whether to run in 2022 Top cops deflect blame over Capitol attack NRSC chair Scott calls for party unity: 'The Republican Civil War is now cancelled' MORE (Wis.) and Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsKlain on Manchin's objection to Neera Tanden: He 'doesn't answer to us at the White House' Overnight Health Care: Johnson & Johnson vaccine safe, effective in FDA analysis | 3-4 million doses coming next week | White House to send out 25 million masks Biden's picks face peril in 50-50 Senate MORE (Maine) introduced a bill on Friday to ensure federal employees deemed “excepted” during the ongoing partial government shutdown are paid for their work.

“The least a dysfunctional Washington, D.C. can do is pay the people we are requiring to work during this shutdown to keep our nation and our homeland safe and secure,” Johnson said in a statement.

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“All employees required to work during the shutdown to perform national security and other critical functions should receive paychecks on a current basis. It is not fair to force employees to work and not pay them," Collins said.

"Hundreds of thousands of federal employees and their families are being harmed by the partial government shutdown, and I am continuing to work with my colleagues and the White House to bring it to an end as quickly as possible,” Collins added.

Excepted workers, according to the legislation, perform "emergency" work or work involving people or property's safety and protection.

The bill, dubbed the Shutdown Fairness Act, is co-sponsored by fellow Republican Sens. Lisa MurkowskiLisa Ann MurkowskiOvernight Health Care: Johnson & Johnson vaccine safe, effective in FDA analysis | 3-4 million doses coming next week | White House to send out 25 million masks Biden's picks face peril in 50-50 Senate Murkowski undecided on Tanden as nomination in limbo MORE (Alaska), Todd YoungTodd Christopher YoungBiden signs supply chain order after 'positive' meeting with lawmakers Republican 2024 hopefuls draw early battle lines for post-Trump era Senate Democrats approve budget resolution, teeing up coronavirus bill MORE (Ind.), Lamar AlexanderLamar AlexanderCongress addressed surprise medical bills, but the issue is not resolved Trump renominates Judy Shelton in last-ditch bid to reshape Fed Senate swears-in six new lawmakers as 117th Congress convenes MORE (Tenn.) and Kevin CramerKevin John CramerSenators given no timeline on removal of National Guard, Capitol fence Senate GOP ready to turn page on Trump Senate acquits Trump in 57-43 vote MORE (N.D.).

The legislation would provide pay for an estimated 420,000 federal workers who are working without pay amid the shutdown, which entered its 21st day on Friday.

Roughly 800,000 federal workers have been furloughed or working without pay since Dec. 22. Workers missed their first paychecks on Friday amid the shutdown. 

The House on Friday cleared a bill that would ensure back pay for federal workers missing paychecks as a result of the partial government shutdown, as well as guarantee payment for employees affected by any future closures.

Senate Democrats are pushing to provide back pay for low-wage government contractors, such as food service workers, security guards and custodial staff, whose pay was not addressed in the bill that is now on its way to President TrumpDonald TrumpSenators given no timeline on removal of National Guard, Capitol fence Democratic fury with GOP explodes in House Georgia secretary of state withholds support for 'reactionary' GOP voting bills MORE's desk.