Government Shutdown

Congress moves on back pay

worried man finances

The House of Representatives voted 407-0 on Saturday to pass a bill to provide back pay to furloughed federal workers once the partial government shutdown is over.

The Federal Employee Retroactive Pay Fairness Act originated with members on both sides of the aisle whose districts are home to substantial numbers of federal employees. Virginia Democrats Jim Moran and Gerry Connolly and Republicans Frank Wolf, Scott Rigell and Rob Wittman are among the backers, as are Maryland Democrats Steny Hoyer, Chris Van Hollen, Elijah Cummings, Donna Edwards, John Sarbanes, Dutch Ruppersberger and John Delaney.

"I'm actually pleasantly surprised that this moved so rapidly," said Connolly, in an interview with FCW.

The White House indicated that it would back the measure.

"This does not solve the funding problem, but it does provide these federal employees with some peace of mind that they will get paid," Moran said at an Oct. 3 meeting of the House Rules Committee. "These folks didn't bring this about."

But there was no word from the Democratic-led Senate on whether that chamber would consider the measure.

House Republicans are also looking to pass a series of stopgap appropriations for select government programs, including a bill that would allow the Director of National Intelligence broad latitude in calling back furloughed personnel and paying contractors. Other bills support weather monitoring, border protection, nuclear weapons security, school funding, national parks, some federal health programs and Head Start preschool programs. The White House has said it does not support such a "piecemeal" approach.

About the Author

Adam Mazmanian is executive editor of FCW.

Before joining the editing team, Mazmanian was an FCW staff writer covering Congress, government-wide technology policy, health IT and the Department of Veterans Affairs. Prior to joining FCW, Mr. Mazmanian was technology correspondent for National Journal and served in a variety of editorial at B2B news service SmartBrief. Mazmanian started his career as an arts reporter and critic, and has contributed reviews and articles to the Washington Post, the Washington City Paper, Newsday, Architect magazine, and other publications. He was an editorial assistant and staff writer at the now-defunct New York Press and arts editor at the About.com online network in the 1990s, and was a weekly contributor of music and film reviews to the Washington Times from 2007 to 2014.

Click here for previous articles by Mazmanian. Connect with him on Twitter at @thisismaz.


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Reader comments

Mon, Oct 7, 2013

It seems to me that everyone has their own opinion about what is right or wrong, in regard to the budget battle occurring in Washington. Of course, the media and a few social networks are also the blame for this mass hysteria. But one thing that is clear in my mind, which is, it takes two to tangle. No one side, neither the Democrats nor the Republicans, is more to blame for this folly. They both are equally to blame and therefore did the right thing by retroactively paying federal employees for their political blunder. A vacation you say—I think not!

Mon, Oct 7, 2013 RayW

Be interesting to see if the Senate agrees on back pay (since Obama apparently said yes I think they will).

Most people on the blog/comment boards seem to think that it is illegal to do what the House is doing with the various funding bills, that the "bill" proposed by the senate is "clean" and can not be changed. As I see it (and I admit that the media is biased and this is a composite of what I read), it boils down to AHA (Obamacare) funding or no one gets funded by the Democrats and let's break out each funding bill and ignore AHA for now by the Republicans.

Mon, Oct 7, 2013

Free vacation for furloughed employees while the essential personnel work twice as hard with no compensation. Doesn't seem fair.

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