Send paychecks first, end shutdown later? Fed union and Capitol Hill friends begin push
- By FederalSoup Staff
- Jan 21, 2019
Federal employees suffering under the shutdown—and their allies in Congress—are proposing a radical fix for what ails them most: A compromise plan that would give feds missed pay now, while working toward re-opening their shuttered departments and agencies later.
The lead lawmaker backing the proposal—Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.)—is speaking out, and pointing out that Congress had already passed legislation to issue missed paychecks after the shutdown eventually ends. So—why not instead hand over this needed money to pinched feds now?
“The fact is, since we have already agreed to pay them when we re-open, why shouldn't we at least go ahead and even if we are shut down, pay these federal workers come Thursday [Jan. 24], so they don't have to incur additional pain and suffering?” Warner said.
“The fact that we are going to go back and pay our federal employees back pay, let’s at least pay them on Thursday so they don’t have to go through more angst,” the lawmaker proposed yet again on a weekend show appearance on NBC.
Federal employee unions continue to press for an end to the shutdown—and for getting missed pay to affected feds as soon as possible. National Treasury Employees Union quickly spoke out strongly in favor of Warner’s words.
“The desperation level among federal employees is off the charts, and Congress and the administration need to find a way to give them some relief, right now,” NTEU President Tony Reardon said. “These workers need their paychecks so they can pay their bills, keep their homes, go to the doctor, put food on the table and avoid more debt.”
Back pay lost under the shutdown is already secured under the Government Employee Fair Treatment Act of 2019—passed and signed by President Trump in January.