WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Ben Cardin and Chris Van Hollen (both D-Md.) have successfully led a bipartisan effort to guarantee that federal workers will be paid retroactively following the partial government shutdown that began at midnight Friday. By unanimous consent, the senators gained Senate passage of the Federal Employee Fair Treatment Act (S. 861), which replaces a discretionary decision with a guarantee that furloughed federal employees will be paid retroactively, stipulates that all employees shall be paid as soon as possible after the lapse in appropriations ends, and clarifies that excepted employees who have scheduled previously approved leave occurring during an appropriations lapse may indeed take that leave without undue penalty.
“A government shutdown has real consequences for hard-working federal employees across the country and the local economies they support. This measure helps make sure that federal workers and the American economy are not additionally harmed by Republicans’ inability to find a compromise solution to the appropriations crisis they have created,” said Senator Cardin. “Make no mistake: Responsibility for this shutdown lies squarely on the shoulders of the president, who said that he would ‘take that mantle.’ The problem is that federal workers will take it on the chin, and this measure aims to help soften that blow. The House of Representatives should pass this legislation quickly.”
“Federal employees should not be punished – and their paychecks held hostage – by the government dysfunction that leads to a shutdown. I was pleased to get this legislation passed in the Senate, and I urge my colleagues in the House of Representatives to pass it without delay,” said Senator Van Hollen. “As we work to end this shutdown, providing our federal workforce with the certainty that they will receive their paycheck is the right thing to do.”