Bill to guarantee back-pay for federal workers heads to Trump

Federal workers who aren’t getting their paychecks during the government shutdown appear likely to get paid — eventually.

A bipartisan bill to give government employees back pay now heads to President Trump after the House and Senate overwhelmingly approved the measure this week. Trump is expected to sign it, although it remains unclear when leaders will reach a compromise on the political standoff that forced some federal agencies to shutter.

The House passed the bill by a vote of 411-7 on Friday after the Senate approved it unanimously on Thursday.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said on the Senate floor that he spoke to Trump, who said he would sign the bill. About 800,000 federal employees across the country have been affected by the shutdown, which is set to become the longest in U.S. history on Saturday.

Lawmakers in Maryland and Virginia — with large concentrations of federal workers — have been among the most vocal proponents of the bill to ensure back pay for furloughed employees.

While the bills give government employees “much-needed certainty, they shouldn’t be forced to go without a paycheck at all,” Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) wrote on Twitter. “Let’s end the shutdown and reopen the government!” Van Hollen co-sponsored the bill.

Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.), another co-sponsor of the bill, said in a statement, “This is no substitute for a pay check, but I hope that this effort helps give some assurances to federal employees who just want to do their jobs and earn their pay.”