Reps. Don Beyer (D-Va.) and Rob Wittman (R-Va.) introduced the Federal Employee Retroactive Pay Fairness Act, which would secure retroactive pay for all federal employees during a government shutdown if they are furloughed.
The bill, introduced in mid-September, has 64 bipartisan co-sponsors, would guarantee feds a standard rate of pay until Congress reaches a budget deal and reopens the government.
Federal employee unions across the country have come out in support of the bill since its introduction. The National Treasury Employees Union (NTEU) said in a press release on Tuesday it will back the legislation.
“Rep. Beyer’s proposal would treat furloughed employees fairly in the event of a federal government shutdown. They shouldn’t be punished because they weren’t responsible for shutting down the government,” said NTEU National President Tony Reardon. “Congress has been entrusted by the American people to keep the government operating. It is inconceivable that Congress cannot pass a funding bill. NTEU is working hard to make that a reality and ensure that agencies get the funding they need to fulfill their critical missions.”
American Federation of Government Employees National President J. David Cox also voiced his support for the legislation, saying it would “take at least one concern off the table.”
“The prospect of another government shutdown is unsettling enough for employees, without the added threat of permanently lost income, falling behind on bills and other adverse financial consequences,” Cox said.
The Retroactive Pay Fairness Act is the third in a recent wave of legislation looking to guarantee feds some sort of income should a shutdown occur.
Sens. Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and other Democrats introduced the Federal Employee Fair Treatment Act of 2015, which would give furloughed feds retroactive pay as soon as practicable in the event of a shutdown.
“Our bill is the right thing to do and the fair thing to do. Federal workers are dedicated public servants who simply want to do their jobs on behalf of the American people” Cardin said in a press release announcing the bill. “They shouldn’t suffer because of extreme partisan gamesmanship.”
Rep. Mike Coffman (R-Colo.) also introduced the “Pay our Military Act,” which would guarantee pay for service members even in the case of a shutdown. Similar to legislation he introduced in 2013, the bill would also protect pay for Department of Defense civilians and contractors who act as support for service members, as well as National Guard troops activated in the event of a presidential emergency declaration.
“Our Soldiers, Airmen, Sailors and Marines cannot go on furlough, so it is inexcusable for them to go without pay in the event of a government shutdown. As a Marine Corps combat veteran, I understand how important it is for our service members to focus on protecting us and our nation and not on whether they can keep food on the table and the lights on at home,” Coffman said. “Paying our military should not be a casualty of left or right squabbling. I urge my fellow members of Congress to pass this bipartisan bill so our military service members can focus on defending our nation.”