October 8, 2013
This story has been updated.
The House unanimously approved legislation Tuesday that would pay federal employees who are working during the shutdown on time, rather than once the government reopens.
The bill would make appropriations for excepted workers through Dec. 15. About 1.5 million federal employees are currently excepted or exempted from furloughs, most of whom will not receive their next paychecks until the shutdown ends unless Congress acts.
The legislation, called the Federal Worker Pay Fairness Act, was linked to another bill that would establish a special committee to work out a deal on reopening the government and raising the debt ceiling. The committee would consist of 10 Republicans and 10 Democrats. The resolution will head to the Senate as a single piece of legislation.
Obama announced his intentions to veto the joint bill should it reach his desk, saying it would do “nothing to solve the immediate, pressing obligation the Congress has to open government and pay its bills.”
The House on Saturday unanimously passed a separate bill that would grant retroactive pay to employees forced to take unpaid leave during the shutdown. While excepted employees are guaranteed back pay upon the government’s reopening, furloughed workers require congressional action to receive compensation for the shutdown period. President Obama has announced his support for the measure, though its timeline for passage in the Senate remains unclear.
House Republicans hope to use Senate Democrats’ general support of federal workers as a means to bring the upper chamber majority to the negotiating table, BuzzFeed reported.
October 8, 2013