The House of Representatives voted Friday to approve a bill calling for furloughed federal workers to receive their back wages that were lost when the government shutdown started on October 1, according to CBS News, October 5, 2013. The bill, which has strong bipartisan support, is expected to be approved easily in the United States Senate.
White House officials expressed strong support for the bill, denoting that federal workers keep the nation safe and keep our economy going strong. The White House issued the following statement:
Federal workers keep the Nation safe and secure and provide vital services that support the economic security of American families. The Administration appreciates that the Congress is acting promptly to move this bipartisan legislation and looks forward to the bill's swift passage."
White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said that restoring back pay to federal workers is "something Congresses have done every time there's been a shutdown, and it's something bipartisan majorities support."
House and Senate leaders still remain divided on the issue of ending the shutdown. Democrat leaders want a bill to end the shutdown with no amendments de-funding or weakening Obamacare. Republican leaders are insisting upon concessions of some kind on Obamacare.
On Friday, October 3, House Democrats revealed plans to circulate a "discharge petition." The petition, if signed by enough House members of either party, could force a vote on the proposal to end the government shutdown without any changes to the Affordable Health Care law. The petition is aimed at a handful of Republicans whose support of the government shutdown is seen as wavering in hopes that the petition will force their hand.
In the midst of all the tumult, the House voted on Friday, October 3 to restore some elements of government service, including the National Institutes of Health and veterans' programs.