A bill passed by the House of Representatives that would grant back pay to furloughed federal employees in the government shutdown has stalled in the Senate.
The Democratic-controlled Senate has yet to vote on the bill, which passed 407-0 in the Republican-controlled House on Saturday.
Under the Federal Employee Retroactive Pay Fairness Act, “federal employees furloughed as a result of any lapse in appropriations which begins on or about October 1, 2013, shall be compensated at their standard rate of compensation, for the period of such lapse in appropriations, as soon as practicable after such lapse in appropriations ends.”
The House version of the bill, sponsored by Rep. Jim Moran (D-Va.), had 177 co-sponsors. Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.) sponsored the legislation in the Senate, which currently has 27 co-sponsors.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) labeled the legislation “cruel” after it passed the House.
“It’s really cruel to tell workers that they’ll receive back pay once the government opens and then refuse to open the government,” Reid said Saturday.
“What they’re telling all these federal workers: ‘What we’re going to do for you now, even though we don’t like federal workers and we haven’t given you a raise in three years, what we’re going to do now is give you a paid vacation,’” the Nevada senator also said.
Even though the bill has not been put to a vote yet in the Senate, Cardin’s office said the bill is still a priority for Reid.
“Senator Cardin has talked to Leader Reid. The bill remains a priority,” a spokesperson for Cardin told Credit Union Times on Wednesday.
The spokesperson was not aware of a timeframe for a vote on the legislation. Reid’s office did not respond to a request for comment.
The partial government shutdown began on Oct. 1.