President Trump on Wednesday signed the Government Employee Fair Treatment Act of 2019, guaranteeing back pay to over 800,000 federal workers at the conclusion of the government shutdown.
The White House quietly noted the move, saying it was done behind closed doors and with no media present.
Workers were not in any real danger of losing wages due to the shutdown, but a bill guaranteeing their pay puts it on record that any wages not earned during that time will be recompensated.
The Act, according to CNN, “requires the compensation of government employees for wages lost, work performed, or leave used during a lapse in appropriations that begins on or after December 22, 2018, and entitles excepted employees to use leave during a lapse in appropriations.”
Sponsor of the bill, Democrat Ben Cardin of Maryland, praised Trump for the move but urged colleagues to get the government reopened.
In 1 hour, @POTUS will sign my bill guaranteeing back pay for federal workers into law.
This is an important step toward providing our civil servants with some stability and hope. But it doesn’t help pay the bills *now.* To do that, we MUST reopen the government. #EndTheShutdown
— Senator Ben Cardin (@SenatorCardin) January 16, 2019
In a rare bipartisan agreement, both Houses of Congress voted in favor of the act.
Democrats Complained About Employees Being Forced to Work Without Pay
Liberals were beside themselves when the President ordered 50,000 essential employees back to work without pay in an attempt to process essential items such as tax returns, security screening at airports, as well as air-traffic controllers.
“The move will allow Americans to get their tax refunds on time,” CNN lamented, “but at the expense of the IRS employees, most of whom won’t be paid.”
Now, they will be.
NEW: President Donald Trump has signed legislation giving furloughed federal workers back pay when the partial #govtshutdown ends. These back wages also apply to workers on the job without pay. pic.twitter.com/YkSJaRTTzk
— Ty Richardson (@TyrichardsonPC) January 16, 2019
They Could Get Paid Now If Democrats Would Be Reasonable
If Cardin and his Democrat colleagues were so concerned with the families of the 800,000 federal workers not working during the shutdown, they’d compromise on border security and fund the wall. That way the government employees could begin earning a paycheck again and get their back pay posthaste.
During his primetime address to the nation, President Trump urged Democrats “to stop the political games and come together and address the crisis we are facing.”
“Congress has a responsibility to protect the safety and security of the American people and it needs to meet that responsibility by providing the funding needed to secure the border,” he said.
Provide a relatively small amount of funding for a border wall your party once adamantly supported, and get government back to work. Sounds like a win-win.