Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) said Saturday that the House of Representatives is cruel to vote for retroactive pay for those employees at the same time it refuses to capitulate to Obama and end the shutdown.
The House has passed a bill to pay federal furloughed employees, but listen to this, once the government opens. Well why wouldn’t we do that? … It’s really cruel to tell the workers they’ll get back pay but then not reopen the government.
Earlier in the day, the House vote unanimously, 407-0, to uphold the Federal Employee Retroactive Pay Fairness Act, which provides for retroactive pay for employees furloughed by a government shutdown. The Senate is expected to follow suit, and the White House has stated that Obama will sign on, too.
Reid said the GOP treats the employees like “lower class of people.” He added, “We like federal employees on this side of the aisle. I want them to work. Why don’t we open the government and let people go to work and do their jobs. Let them go to work.”
Reid’s concern for government employees is touching. He seems reticent to comment on private sector jobs though; the latest numbers show that the labor participation rate, which has dropped to 63.2%, the lowest since 1978.