Congress Expected to Grant Back Pay to Furloughed Feds

Susan Walsh/AP

This story has been updated. 

The House will vote Saturday on a widely supported bill to grant furloughed federal employees retroactive pay upon the reopening of government, Republican leaders have announced.

The bill is expected to pass with bipartisan support, with Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., backing the measure Friday. The legislation -- which was introduced by Reps. Jim Moran, D-Va., and Frank Wolf, R-Va. -- has garnered more than 150 co-sponsors, including 18 Republicans. It cleared the House Rules Committee Thursday night, and will require a two-thirds majority in the House before it moves on to the Senate.

Sen. Ben Cardin, D-Md., introduced identical legislation in the upper chamber. A spokeswoman for Cardin said the schedule is “only a matter of which [chamber] can move first,” adding she expects Senate Democrats to approve the measure once they receive it.

The Federal Employee Retroactive Pay Fairness Act would reimburse federal employees forced to take unpaid leave due to the government shutdown for time missed, “as soon as practicable.”

President Obama announced his support for the bill Friday.

“Federal workers keep the nation safe and secure and provide vital services that support the economic security of American families,” the White House said in a statement. “The administration appreciates that the Congress is acting promptly to move this bipartisan legislation and looks forward to the bill's swift passage.”

The White House added the bill would not reduce the need to reopen government: “This bill alone, however, will not address the serious consequences of the funding lapse, nor will a piecemeal approach to appropriations bills.”

Excepted federal employees required to work during the shutdown are guaranteed back pay by statute. The remaining 900,000 federal employees who are currently furloughed, however, need congressional action to receive pay for the duration of the shutdown. In previous government shutdowns, Congress has always approved retroactive pay for the federal workforce, and employee groups and unions have repeatedly called on Congress to again ensure compensation. But prospects for back pay were less certain this time around, given the fiscal climate.

At the Rules Committee Thursday, Moran testified federal employees were victims of the shutdown.

“These folks did not bring this about,” Moran said. “They’re trying to do their jobs, they want to do their jobs. They want to come into work every day and they have bills to meet.”

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

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

  • Sponsored by G Suite

    Cross-Agency Teamwork, Anytime and Anywhere

    Dan McCrae, director of IT service delivery division, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

    Download
  • Data-Centric Security vs. Database-Level Security

    Database-level encryption had its origins in the 1990s and early 2000s in response to very basic risks which largely revolved around the theft of servers, backup tapes and other physical-layer assets. As noted in Verizon’s 2014, Data Breach Investigations Report (DBIR)1, threats today are far more advanced and dangerous.

    Download
  • Sponsored by One Identity

    One Nation Under Guard: Securing User Identities Across State and Local Government

    In 2016, the government can expect even more sophisticated threats on the horizon, making it all the more imperative that agencies enforce proper identity and access management (IAM) practices. In order to better measure the current state of IAM at the state and local level, Government Business Council (GBC) conducted an in-depth research study of state and local employees.

    Download
  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    The Next Federal Evolution of Cloud

    This GBC report explains the evolution of cloud computing in federal government, and provides an outlook for the future of the cloud in government IT.

    Download
  • Sponsored by LTC Partners, administrators of the Federal Long Term Care Insurance Program

    Approaching the Brink of Federal Retirement

    Approximately 10,000 baby boomers are reaching retirement age per day, and a growing number of federal employees are preparing themselves for the next chapter of their lives. Learn how to tackle the challenges that today's workforce faces in laying the groundwork for a smooth and secure retirement.

    Download
  • Sponsored by Hewlett Packard Enterprise

    Cyber Defense 101: Arming the Next Generation of Government Employees

    Read this issue brief to learn about the sector's most potent challenges in the new cyber landscape and how government organizations are building a robust, threat-aware infrastructure

    Download
  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    GBC Issue Brief: Cultivating Digital Services in the Federal Landscape

    Read this GBC issue brief to learn more about the current state of digital services in the government, and how key players are pushing enhancements towards a user-centric approach.

    Download

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