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 JohnsonTrump administration floats background check proposal to Senate GOP Republicans wary of US action on Iran Democratic senator warns O'Rourke AR-15 pledge could haunt party for years MORE (Wis.) and Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsGOP signals unease with Barr's gun plan Sinema touts bipartisan record as Arizona Democrats plan censure vote The Hill's Morning Report - Trump takes 2020 roadshow to New Mexico 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.

ADVERTISEMENT

“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 MurkowskiSinema touts bipartisan record as Arizona Democrats plan censure vote Kavanaugh impeachment push hits Capitol buzz saw McConnell lashes out at Democrats over 'unhinged' criticism of Kavanaugh MORE (Alaska), Todd YoungTodd Christopher YoungSenators pressure Trump to help end humanitarian crisis in Kashmir Congress set for chaotic fall sprint Overnight Defense: Senate fails to override Trump veto on Saudi arms sales | Two US troops killed in Afghanistan | Senators tee up nominations, budget deal ahead of recess MORE (Ind.), Lamar AlexanderAndrew (Lamar) Lamar AlexanderHere are the lawmakers who aren't seeking reelection in 2020 EXCLUSIVE: Swing-state voters oppose 'surprise' medical bill legislation, Trump pollster warns The 13 Republicans needed to pass gun-control legislation MORE (Tenn.) and Kevin CramerKevin John CramerPrimary challenges show potential cracks in Trump's GOP Castro, Steyer join pledge opposing the Keystone XL pipeline EPA proposes rolling back states' authority over pipeline projects 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 John TrumpTrump conversation with foreign leader part of complaint that led to standoff between intel chief, Congress: report Pelosi: Lewandowski should have been held in contempt 'right then and there' Trump to withdraw FEMA chief nominee: report MORE's desk.