White House to Support Retroactive Pay to Federal Workers
The White House said on Friday that it would support legislation moving through the U.S. Congress that would retroactively pay federal workers who have been furloughed because of the government shutdown.
"This bill alone, however, will not address the serious consequences of the funding lapse, nor will a piecemeal approach to appropriations bills," the White House said in a statement quoted by Reuters, again urging the House to vote on a Senate-passed stop-gap funding measure.
The House of Representatives could pass the bipartisan measure as early as Saturday to guarantee back-pay to as many as a million federal workers who have been furloughed because of Congress' inability to agree on an emergency spending bill.
The Senate also would have to approve the measure before sending it to President Barack Obama for enacting into law.
Among agencies with high furlough rates are the Environmental Protection Agency and Department of Education.
The layoffs have hit hard in Washington, D.C., and its suburbs in Maryland and Virginia, which have large concentrations of federal employees.
The partial government shutdown was ordered on Tuesday, which marked the start of a new fiscal year and the expiration of fiscal 2013 funds. With little sign of compromise on either side, many fear the shutdown will drag on until the government faces the more dire threat of a possible U.S. default on its debts later this month.
On Thursday, Israel's Minister of Economic Affairs to the U.S., Eli Groner, said that the United States' military aid to Israel is being held up by the shutdown.
"We are not talking about a specific step regarding Israel. There is no budget for most government activities because there is no Budget Act or decision for a continuing resolution for ongoing financing for the coming financial year, and that includes the budget for foreign aid," he said.
On Wednesday, State Department deputy spokeswoman Marie Harf said that the " State Department's ability to provide military assistance to Israel and other allies in the time frame that is expected and customary could be hindered, depending on the length of the shutdown.”
Obama said on Wednesday that he is “exasperated” by the government shutdown but announced that he would not negotiate with the Republicans until they pass an extension of funding to reopen it.
“Am I exasperated? Absolutely, I’m exasperated because this is entirely unnecessary,” Obama said in an interview with CNBC.
“I am exasperated with the idea that unless I say to 20 million people you can’t have health insurance, these folks will not reopen the government,” Obama added. “That is irresponsible.”
(Arutz Sheva’s North American Desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Arutz Sheva articles, however, is Israeli time.)