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 pressured to run as Democrats set sights on Iowa Sunday shows preview: Bipartisan infrastructure talks drag on; Democrats plow ahead with Jan. 6 probe Democrats question GOP shift on vaccines MORE (Wis.) and Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsThe 17 Republicans who voted to advance the Senate infrastructure bill Senate votes to take up infrastructure deal Gyms, hotels, bus companies make last-ditch plea for aid 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 MurkowskiThe 17 Republicans who voted to advance the Senate infrastructure bill Senate votes to take up infrastructure deal The Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by Facebook - Officers give grueling, horrific accounts of Jan. 6 MORE (Alaska), Todd YoungTodd Christopher YoungThe 17 Republicans who voted to advance the Senate infrastructure bill Senate votes to take up infrastructure deal Bipartisan group says it's still on track after setback on Senate floor MORE (Ind.), Lamar AlexanderLamar AlexanderAuthorities link ex-Tennessee governor to killing of Jimmy Hoffa associate The Republicans' deep dive into nativism Senate GOP faces retirement brain drain MORE (Tenn.) and Kevin CramerKevin John CramerGOP senator clashes with radio caller who wants identity of cop who shot Babbitt The 17 Republicans who voted to advance the Senate infrastructure bill Senate votes to take up infrastructure deal 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 TrumpFormer New York state Senate candidate charged in riot Trump called acting attorney general almost daily to push election voter fraud claim: report GOP senator clashes with radio caller who wants identity of cop who shot Babbitt MORE's desk.