Senate Republicans To Block Quick Passage Of House GOP Bill On Furloughed Worker Pay
Republicans in the Senate apparently intend to block quick passage of a bill that passed the Republican held House that would guarantee pay for Federal Government workers after the shutdown ends:
(CNN) – Quick passage of a bill to provide back-pay to furloughed federal workers appeared in doubt on Monday when the No. 2 Senate Republican said it’s not time to address that issue right now.
“I think it’s really premature to be dealing with that until we resolve the underlying problem,” said Sen. John Cornyn of Texas. “We’ve offered a number of bills to try to alleviate some of the hardship and they’ve been swatted down out of hand.”
Cornyn said he didn’t expect Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to bring it to the floor because of GOP objections.
The House unanimously passed a bill on Saturday to provide back pay to the hundreds of thousands of federal employees impacted by the government shutdown, and the White House said it supported it.
In past shutdowns, Congress routinely approved similar measures.
“There is no sense of urgency for us to do it. The federal government is shut down,” said Sen. Richard Burr, a Republican of North Carolina who supports providing back pay but not until the government has reopened. “I think it’s very legitimate to take our time on this and hopefully Senator Reid will open it up for amendments and we can see how it ends up.”
What Republicans are opposing isn’t the bill itself. Indeed, if there were a floor vote on the back pay bill itself it likely would pass the Senate unanimously just as it passed the House unanimously. Instead, what they’re objecting to is passing the bill under an expedited procedure that wouldnt’ allow for Amendments because they want to use the regular process to force votes on many of the stop gap spending bills for things such as the National Institutes of Health and the D.C. Government which the House passed on party line votes last week, and which Harry Reid has so far refused to bring to the floor. Many of the Amendments would likely fail assuming that party unity continues, but Republicans apparently believe that forcing votes on this issues will embarrass Democrats, especially those up for re-election in red states like Arkansas, Louisiana, and North Carolina.