House Appropriations member Jim Moran said there is little chance that federal employees will receive back pay if the government shuts down at the end of this week.
The Virginia Democrat said that based on conversations with Members from both parties, he sees little appetite to pass a bill restoring pay.
“There will be no reimbursement,” Moran said on a conference call with reporters. “There is little likelihood that there would be reimbursement of employees, at least those who were not considered ‘essential’ and not on the job.”
If the government shuts down, essential employees will still come to work while others will be furloughed. Moran estimated that about 900,000 government workers would fall into the latter category.
In order for both essential and nonessential federal workers to be paid, Congress would have to pass a provision in the next spending bill after a shutdown giving the employees back pay. Congress did so when the government shut down in 1995, paying even federal employees who were furloughed.
Moran is pushing a bill that would prevent Members from being paid if the government shuts down. As it stands, Members would still get their paychecks.
But he said that despite the uncertainty about government pay, he would probably keep his own staff on the job.
In 1995, he said, Congressional staff were working double-time, deluged with questions from constituents and fellow federal employees about the mechanics of a shutdown.
“I’ve got to have my staff on the job serving my constituents,” said Moran, who represents the Washington, D.C., suburbs in Northern Virginia. “I’m going to do everything I can to keep my staff on the job.”
Correction: April 7
The article misstated Rep. Jim Moran’s committee membership in 1995. He was not a member of the House Appropriations Committee at the time.
Terri Henderson, 6, center, whose mother is El Salvador, attends a rally with members of Congress at Union Station's Columbus Circle to announce the Restore Opportunity, Strengthen, and Improve the Economy (ROSIE) Act on July 29, 2014. The legislation provides incentives for government contractors to pay a living wage and other benefits that would help low-income workers.