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 JohnsonFrustration boils over with Senate's 'legislative graveyard' Barr throws curveball into Senate GOP 'spying' probe Bipartisan group of senators introduce legislation designed to strengthen cybersecurity of voting systems MORE (Wis.) and Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsThe Hill's Morning Report - Trump says no legislation until Dems end probes Collins offering bill to boost battery research as GOP pushes energy 'innovation' Biden says Congress must move to protect abortion rights 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 MurkowskiMurkowski celebrates birthday with electric scooter ride Overnight Energy: Park Service plans to pay full-time staff through entrance fees | Oil companies join blitz for carbon tax | Interior chief takes heat for saying he hasn't 'lost sleep' over climate change Democrats grill Trump Interior chief for saying he hasn't 'lost sleep' over climate change MORE (Alaska), Todd YoungTodd Christopher YoungBipartisan senators unveil measure to end surprise medical bills Pence, McConnell eulogize Sen. Richard Lugar On The Money: GOP angst grows over Trump's trade war | Trump promises help for 'Patriot Farmers' | Markets rebound | CBO founding director Alice Rivlin dies | Senate to vote on disaster aid bill next week MORE (Ind.), Lamar AlexanderAndrew (Lamar) Lamar AlexanderOvernight Health Care — Presented by PCMA — Senators unveil sweeping bipartisan health care package | House lawmakers float Medicare pricing reforms | Dems offer bill to guarantee abortion access Bipartisan senators reveal sweeping health care package Collins offering bill to boost battery research as GOP pushes energy 'innovation' MORE (Tenn.) and Kevin CramerKevin John CramerTrump pushing for GOP donor's company to get border wall contract: report The Hill's Morning Report - Trump says no legislation until Dems end probes Bolton emerges as flashpoint in GOP debate on Iran 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 TrumpNASA exec leading moon mission quits weeks after appointment The Hill's Morning Report — After contentious week, Trump heads for Japan Frustration boils over with Senate's 'legislative graveyard' MORE's desk.