The longest government shutdown in United States history, which began on December 22, 2018 and has continued well into January, has resulted in a variety of problems. One of those is the issue of federal government employees not getting paid. But President Donald Trump has taken a major step to address the issue.
On January 10, the Senate unanimously approved S.24, which is the Government Employee Fair Treatment Act. The bill affects hundreds of thousands of employees and states that after the shutdown ends, federal employees will receive back pay.
Here is an excerpt from S.24:
(2) Each employee of the United States Government or of a District of Columbia public employer furloughed as a result of a covered lapse in appropriations shall be paid for the period of the lapse in appropriations, and each excepted employee who is required to perform work during a covered lapse in appropriations shall be paid for such work, at the employee’s standard rate of pay, at the earliest date possible after the lapse in appropriations ends, regardless of scheduled pay dates.
(3) During a covered lapse in appropriations, each excepted employee who is required to perform work shall be entitled to use leave under chapter 63 of title 5, or any other applicable law governing the use of leave by the excepted employee, for which compensation shall be paid at the earliest date possible after the lapse in appropriations ends, regardless of scheduled pay dates.
On January 11, a large number of both Democrats and Republicans in the House of Representatives approved S.24 with a vote of 411 – 7. Trump then signed the bill into law.
Senator Susan Collins (R-ME) and Senator Ben Cardin (D-ME) co-authored S.24, and released the following statement after the bill was approved:
“The partial government shutdown represents a failure to govern and harms not only those who need to interact with the closed agencies, but also hundreds of thousands of federal employees and their families who don’t know when they will receive their next paycheck. I am pleased that an overwhelming, bipartisan majority of our colleagues joined us in passing this legislation to guarantee back pay to federal workers affected by the shutdown. While this will help provide some peace of mind, a compromise must be reached to bring this impasse to an end as quickly as possible.”
The partial shutdown of the federal government began after President Trump and Democratic leaders in Congress could not agree on issues pertaining to immigration and the southern border of the United States. Trump has many times stated that about $5.7 billion is needed to build a wall along the southern border. But Democrat leaders have not budged, stating they will be willing to provide a maximum of about $1.6 billion for enhanced security along the border — that will not include a wall. Because Trump and the Democrats have not been able to come to an agreement or compromise, the shutdown has continued.
More recently, Trump gave a speech from the White House outlining a possible compromise that would end the shutdown, but that plan was criticized by numerous key Democrats. They would be wise to work with Trump and end the shutdown.
~ Patriotic Freedom Fighter