Senate Democratic Staffers Returning to Work

Image: Senate Democratic Staffers Returning to Work

Thursday, 10 Oct 2013 03:02 PM

By Lisa Barron

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Some Senate Democrats are bringing furloughed staffers back to work, more than a week after the federal government shut down began to help deal with a "workload" buildup.

David McCallum, deputy chief of staff to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, notified Democratic senators by email Wednesday that his office is staffing back up to deal with the "accumulating workload" that the shutdown has incurred, reports Politico. He acknowledged, however, that the staffers would not be paid until the standoff over spending and the debt ceiling is resolved.

Unlike the executive branch, members of Congress can decide for themselves how many staff members to keep working through the shutdown. Some members have sent workers home, while others, including nine senators, have kept their staffs working, assuming that they will likely be paid retroactively as part of an eventual budget deal, according to Politico.

The House has already passed a measure guaranteeing that furloughed federal workers receive back pay after the shutdown is resolved. But the measure was delayed in the Senate when Minority Whip John Cornyn of Texas complained that it was "premature to do it right now," according to The Huffington Post.

In his email, McCallum wrote that "certain Republican senators are preventing us from obtaining a path to voting on this legislation in and expeditious manner." But he added, "We are confident that at some point the government will reopen and that retroactive pay will be part of any agreement."

"We are all aware that those who have been furloughed would rather be working for their paycheck than receive a paid vacation," McCallum said in the email, "so in light of this pending legislation, this might be a good time to re-examine staffing assignments and determine whether you want to bring additional staff back to work."

The pay question has not been an issue for many Hill staffers, who told Politico that they simply don't like being away from their jobs at such a critical time.

Related stories:

Checking Email a Crime, Furloughed Workers Warned

VA Furloughs Anger Lawmakers, Veterans

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