Bipartisan legislation to provide retroactive pay for the more than 800,000 federal workers furloughed because of the irresponsible House Republican government shutdown was introduced Tuesday in the House and Senate. Rep. Jim Moran (D-Va.), chief sponsor of the House bill (H.R. 3223), said:
Nearly a million federal workers could lose their pay because Congress failed to do its job and keep the government up and running....Our civil servants have weathered furloughs, frozen pay and diminished benefits. Now they may go without their pay altogether because of this reckless Tea Party-led government shutdown.
Federal employee pay is suspended in the event of a funding lapse or government shutdown. Retroactive payment for “non-essential” and “essential” employees must be approved through the legislative process by Congress. Rep. Frank Wolf (R-Va.), a co-sponsor, said:
Employees at the FBI, DEA and U.S. Marshals Service shouldn’t be punished because the Congress couldn’t get its job done. They should be properly compensated for the hard work they do to make our nation a safer and better place. Let’s also not forget that several federal workers paid the ultimate price just last week in the Navy Yard tragedy.
On Tuesday, AFGE President J. David Cox said, “The seriousness of refusing to fund the government seems to elude the members of the House who maneuvered us into this lockout.”
It’s anybody’s guess what their real goals may be: Do they enjoy creating chaos? Do they enjoy inflicting additional hardship on the working- and middle-class employees who provide services to the American public?
H.R. 3223 has 64 co-sponsors, and the Senate bill (Federal Employee Retroactive Pay Fairness Act), introduced by Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.), has not been assigned a bill number.