The House of Representatives can actually agree on something. On Saturday, the House voted unanimously 407-0 to pass the Federal Employee Retroactive Pay Fairness Act.
The bill, sponsored by Rep. Jim Moran, D-Va., provides retroactive compensation for furloughed workers. It also puts Congress in a paradoxical situation; it can agree to pay for federal workers’ salaries, but not to let them work.
“Passing the Federal Employee Retroactive Pay Fairness Act is the absolute least this Congress can do to finally begin honoring our nation’s most valuable resource, the men and women who answer the noble call of public service,” Rep. Gerry Connolly, D-Va., said in a floor statement.
The bill still needs senate confirmation and the president’s signature before it becomes law. As of Monday morning, the Senate does not yet have a vote scheduled for the bill. However, its passage seems likely.
Just hours after the bill passed the House, the Defense Department ordered most of its furloughed civilian workforce back into the office.
“Today, I am announcing that most DOD civilians placed on emergency furlough during the government shutdown will be asked to return to work beginning next week,” Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said.
Though about 90 percent of DOD workers will be returning, it still leaves about 10 percent federal workers furloughed. Those federal employees can breath a little easier now that they know they will be paid, but there is still no end in sight for the shutdown.