Furloughed federal workers across the country were relieved this weekend when the House of Representatives passed a bill ensuring they would get back pay for the time they’ve been kept off the job. But J. David Cox, President of the American Federation of Government Employees, says it’s not enough for his members, who still don’t know when their next full paycheck will show up.
“These folks, most of them make an average of $500 a week take-home, they are living paycheck to paycheck,” he said on Monday’s PoliticsNation.
“We want to go to work, and these people are going to feel pain, those that are furloughed, and those are being required to go to work, but will not paid on payday,” Cox added, pointing out that until the government shutdown is ended, even essential employees still working throughout the shutdown won’t be paid for any work they did after September 30.
From TSA screeners who work at airports to the janitorial staff who help keep the National Institutes of Health shipshape, Cox insists these workers want nothing more than to be doing their jobs and earning their pay.
“They are out there making very little money but they take great pride in what they do for the American people, and we want to go to work,” he said.
He believes that the power to put those people back to work lies with House Speaker John Boehner. ”We beg the Speaker, we beg him with all of our heart, put forth a clean CR and allow the vote up or down for the American people so that we can go to work and service them,” he said.
Boehner has insisted that such a bill has no chance of passing the House, but Rep. Jan Schakowsky told Rev. Sharpton she doubts that.
“It would pass, it would end,” she said. The latest whip count from NBC News backs up her claim, finding that as many as 21 Republicans are willing to vote for a clean continuing resolution that could put the government back in regular working order. If no more than five Democrats defected from their party’s position, the bill would pass. Schakowsky thinks the speaker is scared about what such an outcome would mean for his political career.
“If he is afraid to call it because he thinks he’s going to lose his Speakership, he’s going to lose his Speakership if he continues it for sure,” she said.
She pointed to the recent poll showing that at least 17 incumbent House Republicans would lose to a hypothetical Democratic challenger today. “We only need 17 seats to take back the House,” she pointed out.