U.S. Sens. Mark R. Warner (D-Va.), Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.) Benjamin Cardin (D-Md.) and Jim Webb (D-Va.) filed legislation today that would ensure that federal workers receive retroactive pay for the duration of a potential government shutdown.
Currently, federal pay is suspended in the event of a funding lapse or government shutdown, and retroactive payment for “non-essential” and “essential” employees must be specifically approved by Congress.
“Federal employees, including up to 90 percent of the civilian workforce at the Pentagon and thousands of other federal employees across Virginia, could be sent home without pay during any government shutdown,” Sen. Warner said. “These employees provide critical support for our ongoing military operations, including humanitarian relief in Japan, and they should not be penalized for Congress’ inability to resolve our political and policy differences with a short-term spending bill.”
“Federal employees who were furloughed through no fault of their own should be paid,” said Sen. Mikulski. “Dedicated civil servants should not be scapegoats for the decisions of politicians. They should be paid retroactively and I believe they should be paid in a timely way. I oppose this Tea Party shutdown. I am for cuts. I have reformed spending. I have initiated cuts. I believe we need a more frugal, efficient federal government. But it can’t be done through serial CRs on the back of federal employees.”
“Marylanders who work for the federal government do not deserve to be locked out of their jobs and lose pay because lawmakers cannot agree on a budget,” said Sen. Cardin. “These are real people with families who are hurting and a shutdown is not of their making. I want to make sure they are not penalized by the inability of Congress to pass a budget.”
“Individuals who dedicate their lives to public service should not have their livelihoods threatened due to Congress’ failure to execute its core function of funding the government,” said Sen. Webb. “For that reason, as a matter of fairness, this legislation will ensure that federal workers are compensated for any wages lost if the government is forced to shut down.”