Feds Could Be Back on Job Tuesday, Can Expect to Be Paid

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By Louis C. LaBrecque

Federal employees could be back on the job Jan. 23 if Congress passes and the president signs a short-term continuing resolution to provide funding for the federal government through Feb. 8.

The Senate voted 81-18 to end debate on the CR Jan. 22, suggesting the shutdown could end on the first day that most federal workers were affected. Senators must vote on the continuing resolution, and the House would then take up the bill.

Federal employees will be “made whole” after the shutdown is over, even if they were told not to work, Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D.-N.Y.) told Bloomberg Law Jan. 22.

“If anyone was furloughed, they will be paid,” she said.

`Not Exactly a Long-Term Solution’

The short-term funding bill means Congress will be in the same spot in 17 days, Jeff Neal, senior vice president at management consultant ICF and a former Department of Homeland Security employee, told Bloomberg Law Jan. 22.

That’s assuming the bill is passed and signed, he said.

“What we’re talking about is not exactly a long-term solution,” Neal said. “We’re talking about two and a half weeks” until the next possible impasse in February, he said.

About 850,000 federal workers were told not to report to work during the October 2013 shutdown, out of a total civilian workforce of about 2.1 million employees. “Essential” employees, such as those whose jobs involve public safety or national security, are required to work during shutdowns. These employees are assured of being paid, but Congress must act to provide back pay to federal workers who were sent home.

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