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 JohnsonAlarm sounds over census cybersecurity concerns Ex-Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker takes job as president of conservative group, won't seek office soon Democratic Senate hopes hinge on Trump tide MORE (Wis.) and Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsTrump angry more Republicans haven't defended his tweets: report Republicans scramble to contain Trump fallout The Hill's 12:30 Report: Trump digs in ahead of House vote to condemn tweet 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 Defense: Highlights from Defense pick's confirmation hearing | Esper spars with Warren over ethics | Sidesteps questions on Mattis vs. Trump | Trump says he won't sell F-35s to Turkey Epstein charges show Congress must act to protect children from abuse PBS premieres first nationally distributed kids' show with Native American lead MORE (Alaska), Todd YoungTodd Christopher YoungRepublicans scramble to contain Trump fallout GOP chairman introduces bill to force 'comprehensive review' of US-Saudi relationship Meet the key Senate player in GOP fight over Saudi Arabia MORE (Ind.), Lamar AlexanderAndrew (Lamar) Lamar AlexanderThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by JUUL Labs - Trump attack on progressive Dems draws sharp rebuke Republicans make U-turn on health care Trump announces, endorses ambassador to Japan's Tennessee Senate bid MORE (Tenn.) and Kevin CramerKevin John CramerTrump puts hopes for Fed revolution on unconventional candidate Trump nominees meet fiercest opposition from Warren, Sanders, Gillibrand Acosta on shaky ground as GOP support wavers 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 TrumpPompeo changes staff for Russia meeting after concerns raised about top negotiator's ties: report House unravels with rise of 'Les Enfants Terrible' Ben Carson: Trump is not a racist and his comments were not racist MORE's desk.