House passes bill to keep paychecks coming

payment made

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.

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 and the Department of Veterans Affairs. Prior to joining FCW, Mazmanian was technology correspondent for National Journal and served in a variety of editorial roles at B2B news service SmartBrief. Mazmanian has contributed reviews and articles to the Washington Post, the Washington City Paper, Newsday, New York Press, Architect Magazine and other publications.

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

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Reader comments

Thu, Oct 10, 2013 Cowboy Joe

A hudred years ago or so, members of the house, senate, and administration, 'd all be wearin semi-permanent chicken costumes for Halloween. Best we can do now I guess is just make sure each one of 'em gets a time out from office for a few terms. All these argument about well we gotta do this and we gotta do that 'cause it's the law ... our government, regardless of what color state they come from or what color tie they wear, every last one of 'em has gone so far beyond the law ain't any of 'em can be trusted. At the very least, the next few ballots need to reflect that we the American people understand that and will no longer tolerate it. At the very best, we ought t' start seein' a few impeachments and recall elections poppin' up fastern' a "don't tread on me" diamondback strike.

Thu, Oct 10, 2013

If you don't enforce the laws, the people will rise up with force against the lawmakers. Lawmakers aren't even following their own laws. In other countries this has led to rebellions. Reality is simple. No money, no service. Feds can't be forced to work without a paycheck. A smile doesn't pay a bill collector. People, your President has done nothing but take from you. A dictator dictates orders and doesn't thank anyone. I'm sorry Mr. President, a smile and a thank you from you is so long past due unless of course this is your way of saying thank you - Economic destruction. Keep your thank you - No thank you sir. Didn't he say it would be a slow road to recovery? We are going down the same path. It's called debt - stop spending what you don't have. How many times do we have to tell you? Turn off the power and let go of nonessentials. people who work are essential to America not the lazy one who want to sit home and get paid for doing NOTHING!

Thu, Oct 10, 2013

I ask that FCW and the media make sure that the public understands that as of this time, furloughed workers will NOT receive back pay until a bill authorizing back pay is passed by both the House AND the Senate AND signed by the president.

Thu, Oct 10, 2013

You guys put the socialist in power and you were warned. Now you get what you deserve. Republicans wanted a smaller government and so did the Dems. the Dems just lied about it to get the vote of federal workers. Its the Senate who just laid off 800,000 by refusing to vote on the house bills. America - who is the real scum. Whether they vote no or yes - at least vote on it. The justice department needs to step in and mediate the dispute. That's what their job is. That's what the court does for two people who can't work out their differences - they go to court and a judge mediates the arguements.

Thu, Oct 10, 2013

Why bring comfort and ease the minds of those who didn't cause the shutdown? - Federal Workers. The same for "Essential" personnel who are still on the job. If you are working you should get paid. Labor laws demand it. Our bill collectors aren't just going to say "Its ok if you don't pay us now. You can pay when your employer decides to pay you. HAHAHA. Late fees and foreclosures, power and water turned off will start. These are "for profit" companies and they hear sob stories everyday. The only valueable customer to a company is a paying $$$$ cu$tomer. Cah chinge. Those of us who are working and don't get paid can't file for unemployment because we are working - even if we aren't getting a paycheck for it when due. now who is holding who hostage. Feds have been held hostage with now pay increase for 5 years. Now our pay is being held hostage for services already rendered by the Senate. I trust we will be paid with market value interest - fat chance on that. Welcone to the USA - for the pursuit of lies, liability, hostage holding is the new norm. I thought it was the pursuit of Life, Liberty and happiness. Hippocrite in Washington talk about terrorism. Look who the terrorists are now? It's the Legislative and Executive branches holding America hostage for ransom. YOU MUST DO THE UNPOPULAR THING. RAISE TAXES (NOT THE DEBT CEILING) AND CUT SPENDING OF THE UNENTITLED ENTITLEMENTS. BOTTOM LINE AND DO IT TODAY - NOT LATER!!!!!!!!

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