Editorial credit: Albert H. Teich / Shutterstock.com Washington, DC - February 27, 2017: House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer speak to a joint press conference at the National Press Club

Congress

Pay raise for feds included in funding

House Democrats plan to open the new session of Congress by passing legislation to fund the federal government and end the partial shutdown.

The package includes full-year appropriations bill for most of the agencies shuttered during the lapse in funding that took effect Dec. 22. But under the Democrats' plan, the Department of Homeland Security will be funded under a separate continuing resolution through Feb. 8, to give time for more negotiation over border security funding.

The House package includes a 1.9 percent pay raise for federal employees, overriding a recent decision by President Donald Trump. The Senate has already agreed to the pay raise in its appropriations bills.

"It would be the height of irresponsibility and political cynicism for Senate Republicans to now reject the same legislation they have already supported," said Democratic leaders Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) in a joint statement.

However, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has indicated he doesn't plan to act on any legislation without an advance commitment of support from the White House.

Trump has invited congressional leaders to the White House on Jan. 2 – the last day of Republican control of the House – to talk about border security. It's not clear whether there will be a possible deal discussed.

Sen. Lindsay Graham (R-S.C.) met with Trump on Sunday and said he saw the possibility of some deal that includes ramped-up funding for physical border barriers as well as support for some of Democrats' longstanding priorities. However, Graham's optimism about a wider deal on immigration does not appear to be widely shared, and many lawmakers are bracing for a long shutdown.

The partial government shutdown will be in its 13th day when the new Congress opens. The longest single shutdown occurred during the Clinton administration, lasting 21 days. Under the Obama administration, a shutdown dragged on for 17 days.

About 800,000 federal employees are caught up in the current shutdown, along with hundreds of thousands of contractors. Most feds were last paid on Dec. 28 for work completed before the shutdown. About 380,000 feds are furloughed with 420,000 working without pay. The latter group is guaranteed back pay once the shutdown ends. However, an act of Congress is required to pay those feds on furlough. The Senate already passed such a measure before breaking for the holidays and it is likely that House Democrats will follow suit.

Feds are at risk of missing a full paycheck if the shutdown drags on much longer, however. The next pay date for most feds is Jan. 11.

Reader comments

Fri, Jan 18, 2019

Federal employees have received pay raises each year, where civilian workers in industry have gone years without raises. Walls are needed to protect Americans jobs and benefits without raising taxes to pay for illegals. If immigrants want to come into this country, there is a method of doing so legally and we will be glad to open the foor to those who come legally, but just as you lock your house to protect your family, we need to lock the country to protect our citizens. Oh and by the way, what happened to all of the money that Mr. Obama had approved for a wall?

Tue, Jan 8, 2019

Thanks to Clinton nd his minions, Bush and his minions, Obama and his minions, and Trump and his minions they are all responsible for bashing federal employees and allowing management minions to enact gender and race biased policies and cheat hard working employees out of a fair increases in salaries both at the annual level and because of high quality sustained performance. Dems and Repos are all the same greed, ego and have proven they cant accomplish anything for the tax payers. grow up do your jobs, and remember the best way to make America great again is by enacting term limits, no congressional/senate or management minion bonuses and raises and reductions in salaries and benefits for elected individuals.

Mon, Jan 7, 2019

I think fake news tag line needs to be switched to fake border crisis, for our Cheeto in chief sake.

Thu, Jan 3, 2019

One way to get Mexico to pay for the wall is to charge each vehicle a fee fro crossing into the U.S. One dollar per car should be more than enough to fund a lot of things, including Dems special interests.

Thu, Jan 3, 2019

Walls are a waste of money unless they are patrolled frequently. The current belief that all we need is a wall is a fallacy. And nobody is mentioning the Canadian border.

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