Republicans: We refuse to authorize back pay for hundreds of thousands affected by shutdown
Republicans already inflicted pain on hundreds of thousands of federal workers when they recklessly allowed Trump to shut down the government for 35 days over Trump’s demand for an unpopular border wall that experts agree won’t do anything to keep Americans safe.
But now, they’re inflicting even more pain on federal contractors by refusing to offer them back pay for the weeks of work they missed through no fault of their own.
Those federal contractors — many of them lower-paid cafeteria workers or security guards — were excluded from the provisions that offered back pay to furloughed federal workers who worked directly for the U.S. government.
“I don’t think we can pay people who didn’t work, even through no fault of their own,” Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) told Vox.
That’s a ridiculous argument, given that half of the federal workers who did receive back pay were not working during the shutdown, according to the Washington Post.
Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) made a similar comment to Vox.
“I don’t really know if people were doing work, if they’re not doing work, I’m not big on paying people not to work, so if they haven’t been working — this is essential, unessential, who’s working, who’s not. To me, it really kind of depends on if they’re working or not,” Paul said.
Democrats pushed for those workers to receive back pay, but Trump threatened to veto a bill that included any compensation for those employees.
Democrats, led by Sen. Tina Smith (D-MN), are continuing to push for back pay for those workers. But Republicans are continuing to hem and haw over whether to pass a separate bill authorizing their compensation.
Ultimately, there are still people out there suffering from Trump’s reckless shutdown. And Republicans appear to be making no effort to make things right.
Published with permission of The American Independent. Attribution: Emily Singer.