(Photo: MANDEL NGAN, AFP/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON-The White House said Friday that President Obama supports legislation that would give furloughed federal workers in the ongoing government shutdown their missed pay when the government reopens.
"Federal workers keep the nation safe and secure and provide vital services that support the economic security of American families," the White House Office of Management and Budget said in a statement. "The administration appreciates that the Congress is acting promptly to move this bipartisan legislation and looks forward to the bill's swift passage. This bill alone, however, will not address the serious consequences of the funding lapse, nor will a piecemeal approach to appropriations bills.
The legislation, called the Federal Employee Retroactive Pay Fairness Act is sponsored by Rep. Jim Moran of Virginia, D-Va. and Republican Frank Wolf, R-Va. and has dozens of co-sponsors. Moran and Wolf both have a significant number of federal workers living in their districts. Sen. Ben Cardin, D-Md., has introduced similar legislation in the upper chamber.
The House vote is expected to take a vote on the legislation on Saturday.
Obama backed similar legislation to ensure that U.S. military service members will get paid, but has vowed to veto other Republican floated legislation that would continue funding for other parts of the government on a case-by-case basis.
"So, to recap, the President signed the troop funding bill, and does not oppose back-pay, but he has promised to veto bills helping veterans, cancer research, National Parks, the District of Columbia," said House Speaker John Boehner's spokesman Michael Steel. " Interesting priorities."
Moran, however, credited Obama for getting behind the legislation.
"He understands the commitment we've made to our civil servants and the importance of honoring that commitment," Moran said of the president. "Failure to make good on our promise because Tea Party ideologues shut down the government in an effort to cripple the health care law is no excuse."
Earlier on Friday, Obama had lunch with Biden at sandwich shop near the White House and praised the proprietors for giving a 10% discount to furloughed federal workers.
In the 1995-96 government shutdowns, furloughed workers--who missed a total of 27 days of work--were given full back pay.