Some Republican House members want the 800,000 federal employees who have been furloughed as a result of the ongoing government shutdown to be paid for their forced missed work.
The shutdown began October 1, and there has been little progress between the Republican House and the Democratic Senate to end it. House Republicans still want to tie a delay of the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) to any continuing budget resolution passed by the chamber, but Senate Democrats will not agree to that. Public opinion has been widely against the Republican position to date.
There are almost 3,000 Indian affairs employees at the U.S. Department of the Interior alone who have been furloughed. Many more employees have been sent home who work on Indian policy across the federal agencies.
Rep. Don Young, chairman of the House Subcommittee on Indian and Alaska Native affairs, expects his chamber to vote on a bill to approve pay for furloughed workers “in the next few days,” according to his office.
Young is a co-sponsor of H.R. 3223, the Federal Employee Retroactive Pay Fairness Act, legislation that would ensure federal employees currently furloughed during the government shutdown would be retroactively compensated. The bill was recently introduced by Reps. Frank Wolf (R-VA) and Jim Moran (D-VA).
“This bipartisan bill is the right thing to do for the thousands of furloughed federal employees around the country,” Young said in a statement. “These hardworking individuals should not go without a paycheck because Congress cannot get its act together and find a reasonable compromise to end this shutdown.”
Young noted that after each of the previous 17 government shutdowns, furloughed employees received back pay, and he said this time should be no different.
“This legislation is simple, consistent with past practices, and should be swiftly passed by both chambers of Congress as we continue to work toward getting the government back open,” Young said.
The Senate is widely believed willing to pass similar legislation, but the future of this legislation with conservative tea party House members is far from certain.
Some tea party members have said they do not think federal workers should be paid while being laid off.