Two Congressmen Push for Paying Federal Workers in the Event of a Shutdown

A bipartisan pair of Congressmen distributed a letter to House colleagues yesterday to build support for paying federal workers in the event of a shutdown.

Congressman Don Beyer (D-VA) and Congressman Rob Wittman (R-VA) distributed a letter to House colleagues yesterday to build support for the Federal Employee Retroactive Pay Fairness Act.

Federal workers’ pay is suspended in the event of a funding lapse or government shutdown, and retroactive pay must be approved by Congress.

A copy of the letter is included below.

September 22, 2015

Support the Federal Employee Retroactive Pay Fairness Act 

Dear Colleague:

We write concerning the current stalemate over funding for the federal government and ask that you join us as cosponsors of the Federal Employee Retroactive Pay Fairness Act. This bipartisan proposal ensures that all federal employees receive retroactive pay for the duration of any shutdown, regardless of furlough status.

As you know, absent congressional action, appropriations for the federal government will expire at midnight on September 30, at which point funding will lapse and the government will shut down for the second time in two years. Should this occur, federal employees who are “excepted” would be asked to work without pay until a funding agreement is reached. The remainder, some 800,000 or so, would be furloughed without pay. In order to make these individuals whole again Congress must approve retroactive payment through the legislative process.

Preferably, Congress will reach an agreement to enact legislation to fully fund the government and allow our dedicated federal workforce to continue to carry out its critical mission. In absence of such agreement and with time running dangerously short, federal employees should be assured that there is agreement in Congress that they will receive their full pay in a fair and timely manner.

We hope you will join us as a cosponsor and give federal employees and their families some measure of confidence that they will receive pay for the time they worked or were furloughed during a government shutdown.


Donald S. Beyer Jr.                                          Robert J. Wittman

Member of Congress                                     Member of Congress

About the Author

Ian Smith is one of the co-founders of He has over 20 years of combined experience in media and government services, having worked at two government contracting firms and an online news and web development company prior to his current role at FedSmith.