House passes bill to keep paychecks coming
- By Adam Mazmanian
- Oct 09, 2013
The House of Representatives has passed a bill to pay federal workers who are on the job during the partial shutdown, but it was met immediately by a veto threat from the White House.
Federal workers deemed essential and working are facing the prospect of missing their Oct. 16 paychecks if the partial shutdown continues. A joint resolution that includes a bill called the Federal Workers Pay Fairness Act, which passed 420-0 on Oct. 8, would guarantee federal pay through Dec. 15 if the shutdown continues that long.
The measure was paired with legislation to create a joint committee of Congress, euphemistically called a Bicameral Working Group to avoid comparisons with the supercommitee created by the Budget Control Act of 2011, whose inability to produce a spending deal led to the imposition of sequestration.
Passage of the pay bill was greeted by a White House statement indicating that President Barack Obama would veto the measure, saying that the joint resolution "does nothing to solve the immediate, pressing obligations the Congress has to open the government and pay its bills."
The House previously passed a bill to award retroactive pay to furloughed federal employees. That bill passed 407-0. The Senate has yet to take action on either federal pay measure. John Cornyn (R-Texas), the Senate’s second-ranking Republican, said it was "premature" to pass the back-pay measure. Democrats, who control the chamber, appear to be in no rush to consider it either.
The next federal pay date falls the day before the date the Treasury has warned that the government will exhaust money management options in the absence of continuing authority to borrow money, requiring an extension of the debt ceiling.
Adam Mazmanian is FCW's senior staff writer, and covers Congress, health IT and governmentwide IT policy. Connect with him on Twitter: @thisismaz.