Massie Votes Against Back Pay for Furloughed Federal Workers
This story has been updated to include a statement from Rep. Thomas Massie.
As the third week of the partial shutdown of the U.S. government nears its end, Congress approved legislation Friday that would offer back pay to hundreds of thousands of federal employees who are not being paid while their offices are closed down.
The U.S. Senate approved the legislation on Thursday while the House of Representatives took action on Friday, passing the bill 411 to 7.
All of the seven representatives who voted against the bill are Republicans, including Rep. Thomas Massie, whose Northern Kentucky district includes the IRS processing center in Covington where furloughed employees protested on Thursday demanding an end to the shutdown. Many of that center's workers are forced to stay home and go without paychecks this weekend, while others are called in to work, but also won't be paid.
Parts of the government closed before Christmas following the failure of Congress to pass a spending bill that would include funding for President Donald Trump's proposed wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.
"I don’t believe anyone should be required to work without pay and I would have voted to pay all of those affected by this current shutdown," Massie said in a comment posted to The River City News Facebook page. "However, this specific bill (S. 24) guarantees retroactive pay for every possible future shutdown, which will only make it easier for politicians to cause future shutdowns.
"This is irresponsible and I want to prevent future shutdowns from happening."
Senator Mitch McConnell, the Kentucky Republican who serves as the Senate Majority Leader, supported the bill.
“I had an opportunity to talk to President Trump a few moments ago and wanted to indicate to our colleagues that he will sign the bill that we have been discussing here to guarantee that government workers who have been displaced as a result of the shutdown will ultimately be compensated. So I want to ease their anxiety about that particular possibility," McConnell said, according to The Washington Post.
This story may be updated.