October 8, 2013
House Appropriations Financial Services Subcommittee Chairman Ander Crenshaw gave the following statement on the House floor today in support of H.J. Res. 89, the Federal Worker Pay Fairness Act:
"Mr. Speaker, I bring to the Floor today H. J. Res 89, the Federal Worker Pay Fairness Act. This legislation fulfills an important responsibility we have to the federal employees who have been working throughout this government shutdown. It should be a simply and non-controversial concept -- if you work, you get paid.
"This legislation ensures that the personnel who have been working throughout this shutdown are compensated for their time. And over the past eight days, these dedicated men and women have put in countless hours of work in service of this nation.
"Just last week, we saw the Capitol Police run into the harm’s way, in the line of duty – this bill will ensure they will take home a paycheck. And despite the Senate’s refusal to negotiate, the House continues to work to reopen critical aspects of the federal government. We have now passed 10 bills since October 1st to re-open the most important functions of our government. This constitutes nearly one-third of the federal government's discretionary budget.
"While these 10 bills are now sitting over in the Senate waiting for action, the House has worked tirelessly to fund our military, our DOD civilians who support critical military operations and our furloughed federal employees. It is only fair we pass this legislation to compensate those federal employees working through this government shutdown.
"On September 30, 2013, at the House’s insistence President Obama signed into law the Pay Our Military Act. This law appropriates funds through the Department of Treasury to pay all members of the Armed Forces during this federal government shutdown. It was the House’s intent that this law ALSO covers critical DOD civilians. While I believe the Secretary of Defense wasted valuable time by interpretating the law differently. I was HAPPY to see that he finally agreed with House that our DOD civilians are invaluable to the morale, well-being, capabilities and readiness of service members and ordered all of those 350,000 furloughed civilians back to work this past Saturday.
"In addition, the House passed H.R. 3223, the Federal Employee Retroactive Pay Fairness Act, by a vote of 407-0. This legislation promises to pay our federal employees furloughed during this government shutdown and is consistent with bipartisan legislation enacted during all previous shutdowns.
"But just as important are our essential employees….they have been working to keep this safe, secure and running. This bill pays the FAA air traffic controllers who have been keeping our air travel operating safely, it pays the USDA food inspectors protecting our food supply, and the Border Patrol agents securing our borders.
"Over the past eight days, these dedicated men and women have put in countless hours of work in service of this nation. And we have a responsibility as members of Congress to provide on-time pay for those federal employees who have worked tirelessly during this shutdown. For their work over the past week – and for the work they will continue to do until this shutdown ends – these men and women deserve to be paid on time.
"It has been the goal of the Appropriations Committee to provide for the timely, continued pay of our federal workforce – through regular Appropriations bills enacted before the end of the fiscal year. And I hope that we never have to come to this point ever again.
"I believe both parties can agree that this bill is a step that must be taken, just as we united this weekend to authorize retroactive pay for furloughed employees on a unanimous basis. This bill fulfills our responsibilities and follows the common sense and non-controversial concept -- if you work, you get paid.