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House passes bill to pay furloughed DoT workers

Jason Miller | Executive Editor | FederalNewsRadio

March 10, 2010

Rep. Gerry Connolly wants to make sure the 2,000 or so Transportation workers who were furloughed last week get paid.

The Virginia Democrat introduced a bill Tuesday and the House passed it this morning to pay the employees for the two days they were off due to the lapse in the Highway Trust Fund legislation.

President Obama signed into law a stop-gap measure March 3 to end the furloughs.

Connolly’s bill, H.R. 4786, would authorize those workers who were furloughed to be compensated at their normal rate of pay for the two days in which they were laid off, and it would ratify actions taken by DoT during those two days to maintain minimum essential services.

“H.R. 4786 is a simple, common sense bill,” Connolly said when he introduced the bill.

“It would compensate the 1,922 DOT employees who were forced out of their job for two days because of political gamesmanship on the other side of the capitol. These employees — who are spread across four agencies at DOT — the Federal Highway Administration, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Research and Innovative Technology Administration — were furloughed through no fault of their own.”

Connolly adds that the Congressional Budget Office says this legislation has no new costs associated with it as the funding will come from existing expenses.

“By taking action now, we will prevent a 20 percent cut in the next bi-weekly paycheck for these dedicated public servants and their families,” he says. “There is clear precedent for this type of restorative action dating back to the much longer government shutdown in late 1995/early 1996 during the Clinton administration. During that period, there were two funding gaps totaling 26 days that affected more than 800,000 federal workers.”

Currently, there is no Senate companion.

“It’s unclear how the Senate will approach this yet—but they will deal with it,” says a House staff member, who requested anonymity because negotiations were ongoing. “They’ll take up Connolly’s bill, attach an amendment to another bill, or pass their own free-standing bill. Details are being worked out.”

(Copyright 2010 by All Rights Reserved.)

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