The U.S. House of Representatives voted unanimously on Saturday to provide back pay to federal workers furloughed by the Republican shutdown of the federal government. According to NBC News, the Senate is also in session Saturday afternoon so that that body, too, could pass the measure, bringing relief to the hundreds of thousands of federal workers who have spent the last several days without work or pay.
The White House expressed its support for the back pay bill on Friday, saying that hopefully, it will pass quickly and guarantee minimal upset to the lives of more than 800,000 employees of federal agencies like NASA, NOAA and the Social Security Administration.
This is the first sign of cooperation between the parties since the shutdown began. The House of Representatives voted to fund certain agencies this week, including veterans’ care and national parks, but the Senate has refused to join in this activity, saying that only a decision to reopen the government is acceptable, not the piecemeal scraps of funding the House seems willing to provide.
“The issue is fairness,” said Rep. Pat Moran (D-VA) said on Saturday. “It’s just wrong for hundreds of thousands of federal employees not to know whether they’re going to be able to make their mortgage payment, not to know whether they’re going to be able to provide for their families.”
The Senate could take up the bill as early as Saturday afternoon.
Watch Sen. Ted Cruz discuss his feelings on back pay for federal workers, embedded below via MSNBC:
David Ferguson is an editor at Raw Story. He was previously writer and radio producer in Athens, Georgia, hosting two shows for Georgia Public Broadcasting and blogging at Firedoglake.com and elsewhere. He is currently working on a book.
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