“Leaving the question of retroactive pay for furloughed employees, already shouldering much of the burden of sequestration, up to this highly divisive Congress is deeply concerning,” said Rep. Jim Moran, D-Va., the House bill’s sponsor. “Today's bipartisan proposal shields family pocketbooks from partisan politics and reaffirms our commitment to our federal employees.”How divisive is the Congress? Divisive enough that some Republican senators are fine with not paying those employees forced out of a paycheck through no fault of their own? Why? What else—austerity.
"I think it's way too early to even consider that, but again we're $7 trillion more in the hole now than we were [in 1995-1996]," said Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.). "It makes it that much more difficult."Would you expect any better of them?
Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) also raised the issue of the national debt, signaling what might prevent many Republicans from getting on board.
"I think there would be less chance of that now considering the great big budget deficit we have now," Grassley said. "We're in a much worse situation."
So how would he vote if a measure were brought to floor to back pay federal employees?
"I would not make a judgement at this point," Grassley responded.