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House Votes To Give Federal Workers Back Pay, Now What?

Federal workers can breathe a little easier after a vote on back pay, but no long-term solution is currently in sight.
Federal workers can breathe a little easier after a vote on back pay, but no long-term solution is currently in sight.

Furloughed federal workers still aren't allowed to come back to work, but Congress is preparing to give them back pay.

All last week, there were whispers at the Capitol that Tea Party-backed Republicans would block federal workers from receiving back pay. The rumors were false, at least in the lower chamber, where lawmakers unanimously approved the measure over the weekend.

But as lawmakers nibble away at some of the more visible impacts of the shutdown, there's fear it will take pressure off lawmakers. Republicans, like Virginia Congressman Morgan Griffith, say they won't open the whole government without concessions on the health care law. 

"I certainly hope it doesn't prolong the partial shutdown," Griffith says. "The bottom line is this is a serious matter. We need to negotiate a solution to it."

Congressman Jim Moran (D-Va.) says providing back pay to federal workers shows the absurdity of the shutdown.

"How can you not let them work for the pay that they're getting? So this is no longer about saving any kind of money," Moran says.

Moran adds that even with back pay, a prolonged shutdown is going to pinch the region's economy.

"If they don't know when they are getting paid, then they're not spending it," Moran says. "You're going to see this rip through the economy. This is very costly."

The Senate still needs to approve the measure, but there doesn't appear to be much resistance to it.


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