Las Vegas Sun

November 21, 2017

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Bill to guarantee back pay for federal workers moves to Senate; Reid not pleased

Congress is likely to approve a bill to guarantee federal workers they will receive back pay, but Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid doesn’t like it.

“It is cruel to tell workers that they’ll receive back pay once the government opens and then refuse to open the government,” Reid said Saturday. “First things first, let’s end the shutdown.”

Reid committed to have the Senate vote on the measure to given furloughed federal workers the paychecks they missed because of the congressional impasse over how to budget for fiscal 2014, which began Tuesday.

The House passed the legislation unanimously Saturday morning.

The legislation will offer some assurance to the 11,000 or so Nevadans who work for the federal government that they will eventually be paid for this time they were forced to stay home or worked without pay.

But it does not get Congress any closer to the underlying question, which is how to turn the government funding back on when the two parties are deadlocked over the House’s insistence that the budget also end federal health insurance subsidies for health care plans purchased on the new exchanges and delay the individual mandate to purchase health insurance for a year.

“The Republican position has been and continues to be: no special treatment under the law, no special treatment under Obamacare,” House Majority Leader Eric Cantor said Saturday.

On Friday night, Rep. Steven Horsford, D-Nev., said he would donate his pay during the shutdown to Nevada's Head Start Association and the Southern Nevada food bank Three Square as a show of solidarity with furloughed federal employees.

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