House Unanimously Approves Back Pay For 800000 Furloughed Federal Workers
The House on Saturday unanimously approved legislation to provide retroactive pay for furloughed federal workers after the government shutdown ends. The vote was 407-0.
Approximately 800,000 government employees have been furloughed during the shutdown, although the Pentagon announced Saturday that it will call 300,000 of its furloughed civilian employees back to work.
Although the White House has said it “strongly supports” the legislation, it’s unclear how the Senate will proceed on the measure. The upper chamber was not expected to vote on it Saturday, and the Senate will not be in session Sunday.;
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said on the Senate floor that it is “cruel” to promise pay in the future but not allow federal workers to go back to work while the shutdown continues.;
“It’s really cruel to tell workers they’ll receive back pay once the government opens and then refuse to open the government,” he said. “Let’s open the government.”;
Reid said the message being sent to federal workers is: “Stay home. Watch TV. Play chess. Whatever you want to do, because we won’t let you work.”
Throughout the federal government, workers deemed essential and who are currently on the job will be paid for their work during the shutdown, although their paychecks could be delayed. But furloughed employees need congressional approval to receive back pay.
United States Federal Government Shutdown
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From October 1 to October 17, 2013, the United States federal government entered a shutdown and curtailed most routine operations because neither legislation appropriating funds for fiscal year 2014 nor a continuing resolution for the interim authorization of appropriations for fiscal year 2014 was enacted in time. Regular government operations resumed October 17 after an interim appropriations bill was signed into law.
During the shutdown, approximately 800,000 federal employees were indefinitely furloughed, and another 1.3 million were required to report to work without known payment dates. Only those government services deemed “excepted” under the Antideficiency Act were continued; and only those employees deemed “excepted” were permitted to report to work. The previous U.S. federal government shutdown was in 199596. The 16-day-long shutdown of October 2013 was the third-longest government shutdown in U.S. history, after the 35-day 20182019 shutdown and the 21-day 199596 shutdown.
According to a Washington Post/ABC News poll conducted several months following the shutdown, 81% of Americans disapproved of the shutdown, 86% felt it had damaged the United States’ image in the world, and 53% held Republicans in Congress accountable for the shutdown.
Another Extension For Federal Contractors
The COVID-19 relief package also provides yet another extension of a provision known as Section 3610, which allows agencies to continue paying federal contractors if they cant work for any reason due to the pandemic.
The provision was originally part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act, which Congress passed nearly a year ago.
Members have since extended protections for federal contractors several times. The provision was due to expire at the end of this month, but the new COVID-19 relief package extends those protections through Sept. 30.
Sens. Mark Warner and Marco Rubio pushed for this latest extension through an amendment, which cleared the chamber over the weekend.
Were really delighted that Congress, the Senate actually voted, had 94 votes in favor of the amendment on the floor on Saturday to extend section 3610 through Sept. 30, David Berteau, president of the Professional Services Council, said earlier this week in an interview on the Federal Drivewith Tom Temin.
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House Legislative Rule For The Appropriations Continuing Resolution
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A new rule for the consideration of the Senate’s amended version of the continuing resolution was approved by the House October 1, 2013, at 1:10 AM . The rule, House Resolution 368, was reported to the House floor for a vote by the Chairman of the House Rules Committee, Rep. Pete Sessions , and the vote had 228 voting for the resolution and 199 against adoption of the rule.
H.Res. 368 changed the Standing Rule for the procedure for consideration of the Continuing Resolution . It states that “any motion pursuant to clause 4 of rule XXII relating to House Joint Resolution 59 may be offered only by the Majority Leader or his designee,” which at the time was Eric Cantor or his designee, H.J. Res. 59 being the bill returned from the Senate to end the shutdown with continuing appropriations for fiscal year 2014.
Only Federal Postal Employees
The House also passed H.R. 828, the Federal Employee Tax Accountability Act, sponsored by Rep. Jason Chaffetz , which could get federal and postal workers fired if they fall behind on their federal taxes. The bill, approved on July 31 by a vote of 263 to 114, would only affect federal and postal employees; it would not apply to federal contracting jobs or other private-sector work that is paid for with federal funds.
Perhaps acknowledging that almost all federal employees pay their taxes, Rep. Darrell Issa , a supporter of the measure, conceded that the bill is almost pure symbolism. The bill is pending before the Senate.
This is the most hostile Congress has ever been to federal employees, Rep. Gerry Connolly told Politico in March. The other side has decided theyre an easy punching bag, and it is outrageous on many, many scores. Connollys northern Virginia district houses the third largest concentration of federal workers nationwide.
Postal workers should set their sights on November, President Guffey said.
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Senate Republicans Propose Stripped
Republicans in Congress have taken a lot of heat over the past few years for repeatedly blocking Democrats‘ equal pay legislation, so this year GOP women senators are proposing a bill of their own to combat the gender wage gap. But the GOP’s stripped-down version of the Paycheck Fairness Act has so far garnered nothing but eye rolls from across the aisle.
Sen. Deb Fischer , joined by GOP Sens. Kelly Ayotte , Susan Collins and Shelley Moore Capito , introduced the Workplace Advancement Act last week, which would make it illegal for employers to retaliate against employees for talking to each other about their salaries. The retaliation provision is one of many in the Democrats’ Paycheck Fairness Act, which would also require employers to report wage data broken down by gender to the federal government, set up negotiation skills training programs for women and girls, and help women sue for back pay once they realize they’ve been earning less than their male colleagues for the same work.
Republicans have blocked the Democrats’ bill three times in the Senate, claiming that it would cause job losses. Now that the GOP controls the Senate, Fischer is challenging Democrats to support her bill, since it’s the only one with a chance of getting a vote.
This post has been updated with a statement from Fischer’s office about support for the senator’s equal pay amendment.
Both Chambers Have Separate Plans To Fund Agencies These Plans Are Not Likely To Become Law But Could Jumpstart Negotiations
Senate Republicans this week will for the first time hold a vote to reopen all of government after a month of a partial shutdown, though House Democrats are pushing their own plan and neither one is likely to make it to President Trumps desk.
The Senate released a plan to fund federal agencies through fiscal 2019, including Trumps requested spending for a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border and significant changes to immigration policy. Democrats have objected to the latter provisions, which correspond to an offer Trump made over the weekend to reopen government, and are not likely to provide the support necessary for the measure to surpass the 60-vote threshold.
The bill includes a three-year extension of legal status for non-citizens in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival and Temporary Protected Status programs, as well as restrictions on asylum applications. It also includes a 1.9 percent pay raise for federal employees. House Democrats have also included that across-the-board salary increase in their proposals to reopen government, making it more likely that any eventual deal to end the shutdown will include the raise. The federal workforce is operating under a pay freeze due to an executive order Trump signed in December .
Both bills largely mirror compromise legislation the Senate agreed to on a bipartisan basis last year, but they still contain some differences on spending levels.
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Federal Employees’ Thrift Savings Plan
The Thrift Savings Plan is a retirement plan for federal government employees and members of the military.
- Get help with life events that affect your TSP account;- What to do if you have personal or career changes or changes to your active duty status.
If you have questions about the TSP or your TSP account, call the participant service line at or TTY at .
Note: There are a number of third-party mobile applications that refer to the Thrift Savings Plan and may ask you for your TSP login information. Providing your information could result in a security risk to your account. If you want to access your TSP account, log in directly at;TSP.gov.
What Did Democrats Vote To Repeal
- The most prominent policy that was repealed by Democrats appropriations bills last week was the Hyde Amendment, which was introduced by Rep. Henry Hyde in 1976, three years after the Supreme Courts landmark decisions on abortion rights in Roe v. Wade and in Doe v. Bolton.;
- The Hyde Amendment prohibits the use of federal Medicaid funding to provide abortions except in cases when the abortion is sought to protect the life of the mother. It was first adopted in 1976 as part of the annual Dept. of Health and Human Services funding package and restricted federal Medicaid funding.;
- The provision has been reenacted annually since then, but the language has evolved over the years. As it applies currently, the Hyde Amendment includes exceptions for abortions in cases where the pregnancy was the result of rape or incest in addition to those intended to protect the mothers long-term health.
- Democrats voted to repeal the Hyde Amendment through the HHS appropriations portion of a seven-bill minibus spending package for FY2022 along party-lines.
- First enacted in 1973 as part of a foreign aid package and named for Sen. Jesse Helms , the Helms Amendment prohibits the use of foreign aid funds to motivate or coerce individuals to practice abortions.
- House Democrats left the Helms Amendment out of the FY2022 state and foreign operations appropriations bill they passed along party-lines.
Mexico City Policy:
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Pa Republicans Vote To Pay Federal Employees
WASHINGTON;;Today, every member of the Pennsylvania Republican Congressional Delegation supported an amendment to pay Department of Homeland Security employees for their work to date. This includes Transportation Safety Administration employees and members of the U.S. Coast Guard, essential employees working without pay during the partial government shutdown.Pennsylvania Republicans voted on three separate occasions over the past week to pay federal employees the paychecks they are owed, but the measures were blocked by Democrats.
Pennsylvania is home to nearly 60,000 federal civilian workers, many of whom have gone without pay since the shutdown began last month.
It was disappointing that Speaker Pelosi directed a majority of her members to vote against this commonsense measure and therefore ignore the hardworking men and women who are doing their jobs but not getting paid, said U.S. Rep. Glenn GT Thompson, Dean of the Republican Delegation.Rather than playing politics and rejecting offers by the President before theyre even delivered, or canceling the State of the Union, Nancy Pelosi should come to the table and negotiate for the good of this country and the men and women who keep us safe in Pennsylvania every day, Rep. Thompson continued. I am pleased to see that House Democrats continue to join Republicans on these commonsense votes. This represents a path forward with or without the support of Mrs. Pelosi.
VOTES TO PAY FEDERAL WORKERS
Isan Fight Brews As Forecaster Warns Us Could Hit Debt Limit By Fall
WASHINGTON, July 21 – The U.S. Treasury Department is projected to exhaust its borrowing authority in October or November, the Congressional Budget Office said on Wednesday, as a partisan fight over raising the nation’s debt ceiling erupted in Congress.
“If that occurred, the government would be unable to pay its obligations fully, and it would delay making payments for its activities, default on its debt obligations, or both,” the non-partisan CBO said in a statement.
A failure to work out differences over whether government spending cuts should accompany an increase in the statutory debt limit, currently set at $28.5 trillion, could lead to a federal government shutdown – as has happened three times in the past decade – or even a debt default.
The White House urged Congress to resolve partisan differences, even as Republicans seized upon the debt limit issue to attack Democrats for pushing legislation that they say has led to inflation and escalating public debt.
“We expect Congress to act in a timely manner to raise or suspend the debt ceiling as they did three times on a broad bipartisan basis during the last administration,” White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki told reporters.
President Joe Biden’s fellow Democrats narrowly control both the Senate and House of Representatives. No senior Republicans have threatened a shutdown in recent public statements. Democrats are insisting on a “clean” debt limit increase unfettered by a fight over spending reductions.
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Paid Family Leave Gains Momentum In States As Bipartisan Support Grows
While she said she sees the measure for federal workers as a first step, a national program involving the private sector is a bigger lift. The concept of parental leave polls well, but proposals from Democrats and Republicans about how to do it are vastly different. Democrats also want paid family medical leave for helping older parents or dealing with a sick child.
Most Americans support the idea that employers should cover the costs for parental leave. But there are divisions over whether the government should require employers to offer the benefit.
NPR congressional reporter Claudia Grisales contributed to this story.
At Last More Funding For Technology Modernization
The final COVID-19 relief package also includes $1 billion for the technology modernization fund , in addition to $650 million for cybersecurity and another $350 million for other related IT modernization efforts.
Though the funding is far below the presidents original request of $9 billion for the TMF, its the biggest boost the fund has ever received.
The TMF has never received more than $100 million at a time, and Congress injected just $25 million into the fund in fiscal 2020.
Rep. Gerry Connolly , chairman of the Oversight and Reform Subcommittee on Government Operations, said the additional TMF funding will help agencies better respond to the ongoing pandemic.
Throughout this global health crisis, millions of Americans facing illness, unemployment, food insecurity and an inability to pay their mortgages or rent have looked to the federal government for help, he said. Yet despite urgent congressional action to provide unprecedented levels of economic assistance, those in need have had their misery exacerbated by a broken IT infrastructure that has prevented them from receiving timely support.
Beyond the TMF, the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency will receive $650 million, the U.S. Digital Service will receive $200 million and the Federal Citizen Services Fund will get $150 million through the COVID-19 relief package.
Verify: Did House Democrats Vote Down Federal Employee Pay During Shutdown
Did most House Democrats really vote down a deal to pay federal employees while the shutdown goes on?;
Its a question several viewers have emailed to KHOU Verify.
Sharon writes, Last week House GOP voted on a measure that would pay federal employees their paycheck despite shutdown. Only 6 Dems voted yes. Is this true?
On Jan. 17, there was a vote where six Democrats voted yes on whats called a motion to recommit. Basically, its one last chance for members to debate and change a bill before a final vote.
In this case, Rep. Kay Granger wanted to change the bills date from Feb. 28 to Jan. 15.
My resolution will allow employees to get the paychecks they recently missed, said Rep. Granger during a hearing on the measure. It provides relief for some employees while we wait for Democrats to come to the negotiating table. We need to start working on legislation that can be enacted into law.
Immediately afterwards, Rep. Nita M. Lowey spoke out against the amendment because it wouldnt end the shutdown, arguing for H.R. 28 to stay as-is.
This would pay employees, Rep. Lowey testified. The order of business is very simple: reopen the government, pay federal employees, and then negotiate on border security and immigration policy.
Any House bill also needs to clear the Senate before heading to President Trumps desk.
Va Irs Get A Big Funding Boost
The Department of Veterans Affairs will also receive an additional $17 billion through the American Rescue Plan.
The bulk of the funding will go to VA health care. The department has said veterans have routinely delayed routine appointments and major procedures during the pandemic, and VA anticipates demand for its services will surge as COVID-19 subsides.
Since the on-start of the pandemic, 19 million appointments have been changed, canceled or deferred as a result of the pandemic, VA Secretary Denis McDonough said last week during a press briefing at the White House. Obviously weve been able to compensate for that through telehealth programs, but not for all of them. As a result of deferred care, which were actually seeing across the health care system and not just in VA, were going to see increased costs.
Other provisions would provide VA with an additional $272 million to help the department address its disability claims backlog, which grew during the pandemic. Another provision sets aside $100 million for VA supply chain modernization efforts.
The IRS will also receive an additional $1.8 billion to pay for a variety of IT upgrades needed to help the agency process a third round of stimulus checks, as well as a new tax credit to families with children.