tv U.S. House of Representatives House Debate on Federal Worker Compensation CSPAN January 11, 2019 4:12pm-4:31pm EST
a.m. eastern on c-span. >> the senate confirmation hearings for william barr to be the next attorney general of the united states begin on tuesday at 9:30 a.m. eastern. in december, president trump nominated mr. barr to replace jeff sessions who held the position for over a year and a half since the beginning of the trump administration. william barr is now of counsel at the law firm of kirkland and lis and served as deputy attorney general for george h.w. bush. watch the confirmation process live tuesday on c span 3. >> the house earlier today passed a bill funding the interior department and national parks by a vote of 240-179. that was the fourth spending the bill the house approved this week to reopen parts of the federal government. but the senate has said they won't consider any of these spending bills because president trump announced he'll veto them if they reach his desk. the house is done for the week, so is the senate, but this
morning house lawmaker december baited a measure that required federal workers who have been furloughed to be retroactively paid after the government shutdown ends. here's a look at that debate. o. mr. cummings: mr. speaker, i yield myself such time as i may consume. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized. mr. cummings: mr. speaker, as we enter day 21 of the trump shutdown, it is incumbent upon the house to do everything we can to address the pain and suffering being felt by dedicated federal workers who are missing their paychecks. most of them are living from paycheck to paycheck. and now they approach this day on friday having moved from paycheck to no check.
today, 800,000 federal employees will not receive their first paycheck of this new year. regardless of what members think about the causes of the shutdown, every single one of us should agree that hardworking federal employees who give their blood, their sweat, and their tears to lifting us up as a nation should not be held hostage to olitics as a result. 380,000 federal employees have been furloughed and locked out of their offices. another 420,000 federal employees, hardworking employees working without pay.
we will see them at our airports. we'll see them working today and tomorrow and have been for he last many days without pay. some even had to cancel already scheduled vacation days or sick leave to report to work. these 800,000 men, and women include personnel at the federal aviation administration , the bureau of prisons, the federal bureau of investigation , the department of homeland security, the food and drug administration, and departments of agriculture, treasury and justice. these are the men and women who keep our country safe, ensure the safety of our airports and food, protect our national parks and, yes, keep our
economy moving. senate bill 24 will provide back pay to federal employees furloughed during this shutdown and potential future shutdowns. the measure also would allow essential employees to use their annual leave instead of having to cancel already scheduled and approved vacation plans. many federal employees are suffering. but not only are they suffering, mr. speaker, their children are suffering and they are in pain and they're worried and they're scared. you see, they have mortgages and car loans to pay, daycare expenses to cover, and food to put on the table.
and even while they struggle to pay these bills, furloughed employees face the stress and anxiety of not knowing whether or not they will be paid when the shutdown ends. the least we can do is to relieve that uncertainty. the president claims that the federal employees support this pointless shutdown. he also had the nerve to say, why don't they just adjust? adjust with what? and how? and so i've not heard that from a single federal employee that they support this shutdown. what they want to do is to get back to work serving the american people. and what they are saying over and over again is, government, do not hurt us. help us.
do not hurt us. help us. so promising they will receive back pay once shutdown ends is the least we can do. finally, mr. speaker, this bill passed the senate with every single senators' consent. and prutch has indicated he will -- and president trump has indicated he will sign it. i urge every member of the house to do the same and support this bill. and let's end this shutdown and get the government open and working again. with that, mr. speaker, i reserve the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from maryland reserves. the gentleman from montana is recognized. mr. gianforte: i yield myself such time as i may consume. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized. mr. gianforte: mr. speaker, i rise today in support of s. 24, the government employee fair treatment act of 2019. this bill is a promise to our dedicated civil servants, both those forced to the sidelines
and those still hard at work without pay. when the house democrats stopped using federal employee's livelihoods as a political football to fund the government, including border security, paychecks will be issued. mr. speaker, to my colleagues on the other side of the aisle, we get it. you don't like the president. you made your point. it's now time to stop messing around. we need to fund the government so we can make good on the promise in this bill, and let's be clear. this bill does not stop the immediate pain of missed paychecks. under s. 24, federal employees still do not get paid until the funding bills are passed and the government is reopened. federal employees will still struggle to find ways to put food on the table and make ends meet until the house democrats agree to negotiate in good faith. this bill also does not
reimburse taxpayers for all the missed government services, like our national parks and indian health service. every day this shutdown continues, taxpayers are on the hook for paying federal employees for jobs they are legally barred from doing. every day this shutdown continues, border patrol agents and other federal employees are forced to work without pay. and every day this shutdown continues, many members of congress are still getting paid. i've instructed the administrative officials with the house to withhold my pay until the partial shutdown ends and until border patrol agents and other federal employees are paid. members of congress should not get paid when portions of the federal government are shut down. there are other pieces of legislation that would pay federal employees who are working during this partial shutdown, and there are others that would hold congress
accountable for not doing its job. i will support the government employee fair treatment act, but i urge my colleagues on the other side of the aisle, end the games, get back to work, let's get the job done. mr. speaker, i reserve the remainder of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from montana reserves. the gentleman from maryland is recognized. mr. cummings: mr. speaker, i yield one minute to the distinguished speaker of the house, congresswoman nancy pelosi. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlelady is recognized. for one minute. the speaker: thank you very much, mr. speaker. and mr. assistant speaker. i thank mr. cummings for bringing this important legislation to the floor in very expeditious time. the senate passed it by unanimous consent yesterday, and here we are today on the first day that some of our federal employees will miss heir paycheck that congress is
saying and guaranteeing that workers will be paid, not only for this shutdown, but god forbid if we have any future ones, that their pay will be guaranteed. . i support the bill and glad it has strong bipartisan support as it did in the senate, and that the president has given the impression that he will sign the bill. it ensures that 800,000 federal employees are going without pay because of the senseless shut down will ultimately get the back pay they deserve. but it's scarce consolation for these workers who are desperate to make ends meet right now. they are paychecks are going to be late, but they must pay their bills on time and in full. the impact of a missed paycheck is catastrophic in the lives of these americans when they can't pay their mortgage, their rent, their utilities bill, their car
payments, children's tuition on time, the list goes on. it affects their credit rating. and it affects the credit rating of the united states of america. i'm particularly concerned about the impact it has on our veterans. large percentage of the federal work force are veterans. they have taken their commitment to public service and the military to public service on the civilian side. we don't do any favor for our friends, our veterans and military families, if we affect their credit rating. so today the press reported that workers are desperately taking their -- taking to the internet to sell some of their household items and other things. sometimes their very reduced price. for just a couple can of dollars just to pay their bills. -- just --couple of dollars just to pay their bills. this is just not right.
people who work, we say two things come to work and don't get paid, or shut them out so they can't come to work. while they are not getting paid, again, thousands of these men and women are expected to show up for work. sending these workers their paycheck late is wrong. we keep saying that. it's wrong. but since there is a guarantee that they will be getting paid, i would hope that the commercial banks, the banks in our country would follow the lead of some of the credit unions by giving interest free loans right now to these families so that they can pay their bills in time and they can be respected for the work they do or anticipated to do. this shut down, by the way, soon to become the longest in history. it's creating chaos in our communities. it fails to meet the -- fails to have us, the government, meet the needs of the american people. we're endangering the food -- safety of our food supply, the
security of our airlines, the eviction of vulnerable families is affected. the support of our farmers. for their support systems as well as food stamps for the hungry and tax returns refunds, tax refunds for the american people. and the ability of the i.r.s. to supply information to taxpayers who want to pay their taxes but need guidance. it's a needless crisis that is inflicting pain on the american people. democrats support effective border security. we honor our oath of office to protect and defend, to protect and defend our borders, our country, our people, and our constitution. we need to look at the facts, according to the d.e.a., when the president says oh, we have to stop the drugs coming into he country,
the country, well, let's look at the facts. the d.e.a. says that almost all, 90% of illicit drugs coming into the country come in through legal ports of entry. that's the president's concern and it's a legitimate concern that we all share, we need to build the infrastructure, increase the size of infrastructure of the legitimate ports of entry. those are ports of entry for immigration, for trade, and to stop the unwelcome in terms of drugs, contraband, and weapons coming into our country. more infrastructure, improve the roads there to facilitate. we also need the technology exists, we have all committed that we would pay whatever it is, $400 million or more, for the infrastructure -- the technology to scan the cars. scan the cars for the drugs and other contraband.
again, technology is our friend in this, and it is very effective, proven, proven way to protect us from those intrusions. we can hire more personnel, which we must do. there are thousands of unfilled positions with the border patrols. we must have more people to do the job there. much of what i'm saying here is what the administration, department of homeland security, asked for. and we said yes. in the appropriation bills. and here we're having that fight later. and we can have more investment in innovation -- and innovation to detect unauthorized crossings. we don't need, the president first described as a concrete wall, 30 feet high, paid for by mexico. cross out all of the above. it's not that. but the fact is, spending money
on whatever that is that the president's describing it now as is an opportunity cost for doing what we know will work to secure our border, all of our borders. all of our borders. there is a humanitarian challenge for us at the border that we have to deal with in a way that is consistent with our values. but also protects our border. what the president is proposing, in fact, he has exacerbated the problem with his cool policies of taking children out of the arms of their parents, separating families, the list goes on. but to the point of securing e border, in a strong, cost-effective, values-based way, democrats have made that proposal, proposals have bipartisan support. let me just say just before
this bill came up on the floor, pass the legislation to a bill, passed by the senate on the -- to open up the department of interior and related agencies there. we have said to the republicans and to the president we will accept ideas, good ideas wherever they come from. these ideas came from the united states senate, controlled by the republicans, up until this new congress, within the last month. they controlled -- they still do control the senate. and they put legislation on the floor of the senate in a mini bus that passed 92-6. we said let's take your language, let's embrace your language, let's pass it on the house, and you once again pass your own language. they won't take yes for an owns. -- for an answer.
that might be part of a legitimate debate. but why do you have to shut down government? do you not have confidence -- i say to the president, don't you have confidence in your own ideas that you have to shut down government to increase your leverage and then threaten to take extraordinary measures when the answer is very simple, let's open up government, let's have a civilized debate, and let's do so in a way that honors our values as we protect our borders and meet the needs of the american people. i urge a yes and i'm glad we'ring going to come out of this with a bipartisan vote. again i thank mr. cummings for his extraordinary leadership in so many ways. most recently on this legislation. yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the distinguished gentlewoman yields. members are reminded to refrain from engaging in personalities toward the president. the gentleman from maryland reserves. mr. cummings: i reserve the balance of my time.