Many have pushed for backpay for government employees, however.
A growing number of Republican Senators have slammed the negative effects of the government shutdown, yet none have signed on to a bill guaranteeing back pay for contractors, a group of federal workers that’s been hit especially hard by the stalemate.
While Sen. Tina Smith (MN), one of the legislation’s chief sponsors, has now racked up support for the bill from more than 20 Democrats, not a single Republican has officially backed it so far, according to a spokesperson for Smith. Lawmakers are hopeful this could change, however.
“I don’t know of any Republican opposition to this,” Sen. Chris Van Hollen (MD), one of the bill’s sponsors told Vox, adding that he hopes the legislation could be added to any final spending package that funds the government. In the House, Rep. Ayanna Pressley (MA) has also introduced a companion bill.
Many federal contractors, unlike other government employees, are not expected to get back pay for the paychecks they missed during the 35-day shutdown. Because they work for a third-party company that the government pays for its services, contractors don’t get paid when these services aren’t used. During past shutdowns, contractors have been forced to simply chalk up this gap in pay as a loss.
As many as 580,000 contractors, including cafeteria workers, security guards, and IT consultants could be affected by the shutdown in this way, according to NYU public service professor Paul Light. (Depending on the company they work for, some contractors may have received their pay uninterrupted during the shutdown.)