Unlike the president and legislators,
military personnel and essential federal
employees who stay on the job would
have to wait until government spending
authority is restored to get salaries and wages.
By Julianna Goldman
April 7 (Bloomberg) -- As tomorrow night’s deadline for avoiding a government shutdown nears, about 800,000 “non- essential” federal workers face the prospect of getting no pay at all for time lost to the political impasse.
Elected officials, including Republican House Speaker John Boehner, Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and President Barack Obama, all would be paid as usual during a shutdown, unless Congress changes the law. Soldiers, law enforcement officers and other government employees whose jobs are deemed essential would continue to work yet wouldn’t get paychecks until the budget standoff is resolved.
Workers furloughed as non-essential, however, aren’t guaranteed that they’ll be paid at all for time off when the government closes for business. While they’ve ultimately received back pay after previous shutdowns, it’s up to Congress to “determine whether ‘non-excepted’ employees receive pay for the furlough period,” according to a U.S. Office of Personnel Management website providing guidance and information on furloughs.
“It is unknown whether legislation will ultimately be passed” to make up lost pay, says a sample letter to non- essential employees prepared by the Committee on House Administration. “We wish that we could provide you with more guidance on this issue but, due to the fluid nature of the situation, we cannot.”
The Republican-controlled U.S. House approved a stopgap spending bill today to keep the government open through next week. Obama said he’d veto the measure, which would cut an additional $12 billion in spending this year and fund the Pentagon at current levels through Sept. 30. Reid called the bill a “nonstarter.”
Boehner and Reid returned to the White House this afternoon for negotiations that didn’t produce an agreement. The government’s current spending authority is set to expire at midnight tomorrow.
“A shutdown could have real effects on everyday Americans,” Obama said late last night at the White House after a meeting where Boehner and Reid failed to reach an agreement.
“It means that hundreds of thousands of workers across the country suddenly are without a paycheck. Their families are counting on them being able to go to work and do a good job.”
The Senate has passed a measure to dock the pay of lawmakers for the duration of a shutdown. A House measure, part of the largely symbolic Prevention of Government Shutdown Act approved last week, would dock the pay of the president in addition to members of Congress. Neither proposal has taken effect.
Members of Congress “shouldn’t be getting paid, just like federal employees shouldn’t be getting paid” during a shutdown, Boehner said today on ABC’s “Good Morning America.”
Freshman Democratic Senator Joe Manchin, of West Virginia, said in a statement on his website that he would forgo his salary during a government shutdown and challenged colleagues to do the same thing.
“The bottom line is this: I can’t imagine that the president, vice president or any member of Congress -- Republican or Democrat -- thinks they should get paid when the government has shut down,” Manchin said. Complete Article