Shutterstock ID 792858589 by Andrey_Popov

Send paychecks first, end shutdown later? Fed union and Capitol Hill friends begin push

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.

Reader comments

Fri, Jan 25, 2019

REPLY TO: "A new survey conducted by the American people ... " What you wrote is totally NOT TRUE. There was no survey, and 99 out of 100 elected officials are not greedy and overpaid. Some are. But not that many. The real problem here is that the WHITE HOUSE has jammed up the funding for the government and its functioning. You should stop making up untrue stories.

Fri, Jan 25, 2019

A new survey conducted by the American people and federal employees shut out of their work place. 99 out of 100 elected officials are self-serving, intellectually inept, greedy and over paid for doing nothing: the roster includes Trump, Pelosi, Schumer, Booker, McConnel and many of the political appointee minions who are making sure our government is totally dysfunctional. None of the elected minions deserve any compensation and their salaries should be eliminated.

Thu, Jan 24, 2019

Hey elected mental midgets, grow up do your job, open the government and then resign in full order and get term limited, salary reduced elected officials who will do what they were mandated to do.

Thu, Jan 24, 2019

I think that a picture of Pelosi, Schumer & McConnel on a bottle would deter any one from drinking from it.

Thu, Jan 24, 2019

I suggest a reduction in force of congressional and senate representatives. 1) enact term limits 1 per state; 2) reduce salaries by 85% and provide federal housing in DC; 3) when a government shutdown results all cabinet members, the president and vice president, congress and senate salaries are eliminated for an entire fiscal year and if two government shutdowns occur during an elected presidents time they remove every one from office and replace them with individuals who will do what they are supposed to do.

Show All Comments

Please post your comments here. Comments are moderated, so they may not appear immediately after submitting. We will not post comments that we consider abusive or off-topic.

Please type the letters/numbers you see above


Edward A. Zurndorfer Certified Financial Planner
Mike Causey Columnist
Tom Fox VP for Leadership and Innovation, Partnership for Public Service
Mathew B. Tully Legal Analyst

Free E-Newsletter


I agree to this site's Privacy Policy.

Stay Connected

Latest Forum Posts

Ask the Expert

Have a question regarding your federal employee benefits or retirement?

Submit a question