Furloughed Transportation employees have yet to receive checks

Nearly 2,000 Transportation Department employees furloughed in early March have yet to receive compensation for two lost days of work even though, according to the Congressional Budget Office, repaying them would not add to the federal deficit. Earlier this week, CBO issued a report stating it would take about $1 million to repay the highway project inspectors for the two furloughed days. But because Congress already has appropriated that money to Transportation, authorizing the department to use it to repay the employees would not affect the deficit, according to the report. If the money doesn't go toward the furloughed employees, Transportation likely will use it to cover other administrative costs, the budget analysts found.

The House overwhelmingly passed a bill sponsored by Rep. Gerry Connolly, D-Va., that would have repaid the employees. But the measure hit resistance from Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., who said Congress should use money from its own budget rather than Transportation's to compensate the employees. Lawmakers should be penalized, he said, for causing the furloughs through a delay passing a 30-day extension of the Highway Trust Fund.

Connolly's language was added to a larger Senate bill that would have authorized unemployment insurance and COBRA health benefits for an additional 30 days. But that bill, too, hit Republican opposition, and Democratic lawmakers were unable to pass it before the two-week Easter recess. The Senate will reconvene on April 12.

George Burke, spokesman for Connolly, noted Congress repaid federal employees who were out of work for nearly one month when the government shut down in 1995. "Quite frankly, it's a little absurd, since the money to pay for those folks has long been appropriated," he said. "They just need to get paid."

Coburn's office did not return calls for comment.

Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
Close [ x ] More from GovExec

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from GovExec.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Forecasting Cloud's Future

    Conversations with Federal, State, and Local Technology Leaders on Cloud-Driven Digital Transformation

  • The Big Data Campaign Trail

    With everyone so focused on security following recent breaches at federal, state and local government and education institutions, there has been little emphasis on the need for better operations. This report breaks down some of the biggest operational challenges in IT management and provides insight into how agencies and leaders can successfully solve some of the biggest lingering government IT issues.

  • Communicating Innovation in Federal Government

    Federal Government spending on ‘obsolete technology’ continues to increase. Supporting the twin pillars of improved digital service delivery for citizens on the one hand, and the increasingly optimized and flexible working practices for federal employees on the other, are neither easy nor inexpensive tasks. This whitepaper explores how federal agencies can leverage the value of existing agency technology assets while offering IT leaders the ability to implement the kind of employee productivity, citizen service improvements and security demanded by federal oversight.

  • IT Transformation Trends: Flash Storage as a Strategic IT Asset

    MIT Technology Review: Flash Storage As a Strategic IT Asset For the first time in decades, IT leaders now consider all-flash storage as a strategic IT asset. IT has become a new operating model that enables self-service with high performance, density and resiliency. It also offers the self-service agility of the public cloud combined with the security, performance, and cost-effectiveness of a private cloud. Download this MIT Technology Review paper to learn more about how all-flash storage is transforming the data center.

  • Ongoing Efforts in Veterans Health Care Modernization

    This report discusses the current state of veterans health care


When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.