Congress has consented to return the salary to federal employees who have been detained due to the partial closure of the government for the period in which they were unpaid – now 21 days and counting.
The Parliament approved the provision by voting 411-7, following the passage of the Senate, Thursday, in a procedure called "unanimous consent", in which a bill is considered approved if no member objects.
During the brief consideration of the Senate, the leader of the majority Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) He said: "I had the opportunity to speak with President Trump a few moments ago and I wanted to point out to our colleagues that he will sign the design of we are discussing here to ensure that government workers who have been moved as a result of the arrest will ultimately be compensated, so I want to alleviate their anxiety about that particular possibility. "
Officials said the bill could be quickly presented to the White House for signature as an independent measure. In previous arrests, this language was more commonly associated with larger measures that ultimately restored agencies' funding.
About 800,000 federal employees in nine Cabinet departments and dozens of smaller agencies – out of a total of 2.1 million federal employees – have been unpaid since 22 December. While receiving a paid distribution two weeks ago for the biweekly pay period that ended that day, starting Friday and until next week, they are receiving payless pay distributions for the next two weeks.
Of those in an unpaid state, just over half remained at work due to the nature of the safety or security of their work. They are assured of retroceding when the loan is restored for their agency.
For those who are licensed, there is no guarantee of remuneration, even if the practice in previous closings was that even the licensed employees were paid retroactively.
Previously, the Chamber had voted in favor of the retrocession of employees on leave twice, in separate bills approved last week and on Wednesday. The Senate had done the same with a bill approved shortly before the closure, but this happened in the previous Congress and a new vote was needed.
Senator Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), One of the Senate's main sponsors, applauded the passage of the bill into a tweet, adding that "given that hundreds of thousands of federal employees today receive a salary of $ 0, they can not afford to wait, it's time to end the shutdown! "
"This bill is a fundamental step towards the cancellation of some of the damage caused by the shutdown of the government," said representative Don Beyer (D-Va.), Who had sponsored a similar bill. "While this legislation will provide federal employees with the certainty that they will eventually be paid, this can not happen until the end of the shutdown."
The measure would apply only to federal employees on leave. Congress is pending legislation requiring contractors to pay equally for their low and middle income employees who have been in isolation due to partial closure.