Seeking to dent President Obama’s refusal to chip away at the government shutdown piece-by-piece, House Republicans passed a bill Saturday to guarantee all federal employees get paid after the government shutdown — including those who have been sent home and aren’t on the job.
The bipartisan bill, sponsored by Virginia Reps. James P. Moran, a Democrat, and Frank Wolf, a Republican, cleared without opposition on a 407-0 vote, marking a major bipartisan breakthrough. The bill, which now heads to the Senate, would ensure that hundreds of thousands furloughed government workers receive full back pay after lawmakers strike a deal to reopen the federal government.
“It’s encouraging to see both parties come together to provide fairness for the 800,000 federal workers hurt by this shutdown,” said House Speaker John A. Boehner, Ohio Republican. “Now we should do something about the 800,000 jobs being destroyed by the president’s health care law. That’s why Republicans are working every day to reopen the government and provide fairness for all.”
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid responded by calling on Mr. Boehner to let the House vote on the stopgap spending measure, which passed out of the Senate and would fund government operations and Obamacare through the middle of November.
“A piecemeal approach of funding the government bit by bit is simply not the answer and saying, ‘We are going to pay you when we reopen this place’ – that is not the answer,” Mr. Reid, Nevada Democrat, said on the floor of the Senate. “No matter how many bites Republicans take at the apple there is only one bill that ensures that every federal priority is met – the Senate bill that would fully reopen the federal government.”
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