Republicans Ensure Federal Contractors Will Not Get Back Pay In Budget Deal

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Republicans squashed an attempt by Democrats to ensure federal contractors hurt by the shutdown received back-pay.

Democrats’ attempt to tie back-pay for federal contractors to the spending and border security deal struck by lawmakers on Wednesday was unsuccessful, meaning tens of thousands of workers adversely impacted by the last government shutdown will receive no financial relief, according to HuffPost.

A budget deal struck late Wednesday will fund government operations through September, but it won’t pay for a border wall that President Donald Trump had promised to build, and it won’t help contract workers. If approved, the deal will prevent another government shutdown at the end of the week.

Back-pay for the roughly 800,000 federal workers who went without paychecks during the more than month-long shutdown was approved by Congress, but those employed by federal contractors were not part of the deal.

Democrats were hoping to change that.

Democrats, led by Sen. Tina Smith (D-Minn.), have been pushing legislation that would allow federal agencies to reimburse contractors that pay workers who missed checks during the shutdown ― especially low-wage janitors and security guards at federal buildings here in Washington.

Two Republicans ― Sens. Lisa Murkowski (Alaska) and Susan Collins (Maine) ― have co-sponsored Smith’s bill, but Republican leaders aren’t going along.

A Trump administration official said the proposal “could cost as much as the actual payments to contract workers and that there would be a high risk of erroneous payments and fraud,” according to HuffPost.

A Senate Democratic aide said Democrats were willing to change the legislation to address the administration’s concerns, but that Office of Management and Budget officials hadn’t requested any changes.

More than 1 million federal contract workers may have missed wages during the shutdown, according to Good Jobs Nation, a union-backed group that often advocates on behalf of contract employees. The group added up the value of contracts at the nine federal agencies for which funding lapsed in December and then divided by the dollar receipts per employee for the related industry groups.

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