Sanders Supports Vermont Federal Workers

WASHINGTON, Oct. 2 – Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) cosponsored a bill to compensate federal workers furloughed because most of the United States government is shut down.

“Federal workers in Vermont and around the country should not have to pay the price for the House Republicans’ refusal to keep the government open,” Sanders said. “These dedicated workers have families to feed and bills to pay and we must make it clear that when this is over they are going to get paid.”

Many federal employees in Vermont are among the 800,000 federal workers furloughed since the government ran out of funds on Tuesday to operate most agencies.

The Vermont National Guard, for example, says 450 of its employees are being furloughed as part of the federal government shutdown, about half of the Army and Air Guard’s full-time workforce. Additional Guard members will not be paid for weekend drills that were scheduled but have now been postponed because of the shutdown.

Altogether, according to the Vermont Department of Labor, there are nearly 5,000 federal workers in the state. (Another 1,676 work for the U.S. Postal Service.)

According to the Congressional Research Service, the “historical practice” has been that federal workers furloughed during past government shutdowns have received their pay retroactively “as a result of legislation to that effect.” The bill Sanders cosponsored is identical to legislation that provided pay retroactively to workers furloughed in the Newt Gingrich-led shutdowns in 1995 and 1996.