Support all around on back pay for furloughed federal workers

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor. (Michael Reynolds/EPA).

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (Michael Reynolds/EPA)

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) said Friday that the House will vote this weekend on legislation to provide back pay to federal workers who have been placed on leave because of the shutdown.

Cantor also indicated through social media that his House colleagues would approve the legislation, saying on Twitter: “The House will pass a bill to pay federal workers for their time in furlough once the shutdown ends.”

The vote will take place Saturday, according to Cantor’s office.

Approval of the House bill would all but guarantee retroactive pay for the roughly 800,000 civil servants who were ordered to stop working Tuesday morning, when the government’s last short-term budget expired. Democrats in the Senate have expressed strong support for back-pay legislation, and the White House budget office issued a statement Friday signaling that  President Obama would sign the measure once it clears both chambers of Congress.

Labor leaders applauded Congress on Friday for taking up the issue of back pay in bipartisan fashion.

“The fact that so many Republicans have signed on to this legislation shows that lawmakers can put aside their political ideology when it’s for the greater good,” said American Federation of Government Employees President J. David Cox.

On Friday, hundreds of federal workers rallied near the Capitol with their union representatives and more than a dozen members of Congress, calling on GOP lawmakers to vote for a continuing resolution that would restart government funding and bring an end to the shutdown.

Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-Ariz.) criticized House Republicans for what he described as brinksmanship in the budget negotiations that have so far resulted in stalemate. ”Whatever political point was being made, the effort is lost,” the congressman said in reference to the impacts on federal workers.

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