The House on Tuesday passed legislation that would increase the pay for federal workers, as the threat of another government shutdown looms. Introduced by Democratic Rep. Gerry Connolly of Virginia, the Federal Civilian Workforce Pay Raise Fairness Act of 2019 calls for a cost of living increase of 2.6 percent, the same percentage as the military pay increase approved for this year. The bill passed 259-161 and now heads to the Senate.
The move comes as some 800,000 federal employees returned to work after a 35-day partial government shutdown. During that period, they missed two paychecks. While they'll receive back pay, the shutdown caused a financial strain for many. Thousands of furloughed employees struggled to afford basic needs like housing and food and lined up at food banks and donation centers across the country.
Connolly said in a statement to CBS News before Wednesday's vote, "On the heels of the longest government shutdown in U.S. history, I believe it is appropriate for the House of Representatives to take up this legislation to show federal employees that we in Congress appreciate the work that they do and the sacrifices they make."
The measure also contains a pay freeze for senior officials in 2019.
Connolly added, " Moving forward, the President must never hold federal employees or contractors hostage again."