The bipartisan effort to avert another government shutdown could be derailed by the inclusion of back-pay for federal contractors who suffered under the last shutdown, according to The Washington Post.
Though Democrats and Republicans have all but finalized a deal to fund border security — just ahead of Friday’s deadline, after which the government will shut down again — President Donald Trump might not sign the legislation if it includes back-pay for the contractors.
Among the outstanding issues in the sweeping legislation is a push by some Democrats to add language that would provide back-pay to federal contractors. Some 800,000 federal workers, and tens of thousands of contractors, went without pay during the 35-day shutdown, and crucial services at airports, food inspection sites, the Internal Revenue Service and elsewhere were jeopardized. Under a law signed by Trump, workers but not contractors are receiving back-pay.
“Thousands of federal contractors have not been reimbursed from the 35-day shutdown,” Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) said Wednesday. “This issue is hanging in the balance . . . It’s just not fair.”
However, according to Sen. Roy Blunt (R-MO), the issue of back-pay could prove a sticking point for the president:
“I’ve been told the president won’t sign that,” Blunt told reporters.
The bill reportedly will head to the House on Thursday for a vote, followed by the Senate, but The Post said this schedule is open to change.
If Congress does not deliver a satisfactory bill to Trump to sign by midnight Friday, the government will enter another partial shutdown.
President Trump appeared open to signing the legislation — which includes far less funding than he has sought for construction of barriers along the southern border — but he said he was waiting to see the final package before making a decision.
“We haven’t gotten it yet. We’ll be getting it and we’ll be looking for land mines” in the bill, Trump told reporters at the White House.