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Public Statements

Expected Employees' Pay Continuing Appropriations Resolution, 2014

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

BREAK IN TRANSCRIPT

Mr. CRENSHAW. Madam Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.

Ladies and gentlemen of the House, the legislation that I bring before the House today is very simple. It's very straightforward. It's very clear, very understandable, and, quite frankly, I think it should be noncontroversial; because what this bill does is simply say that the Federal employees who have been working during this shutdown are going to be paid, and they are going to be paid on time.

Now, a lot of people during this shutdown have been coming to work every day. They've worked for countless hours for the citizens of our Nation, and they deserve to be paid. As I said, it's very simple. If you work, you get paid.

For instance, the Capitol Police, they're on the job. They're working every day. You might remember last week, they rushed into harm's way in the line of duty. Now, those Federal employees deserve to take home a paycheck because they're on the job.

There are other Federal workers that are working every day during this shutdown. Some of them are working to make sure that our safety and well-being is in place. Some are working to make sure that the critical needs of our citizens are met. Some are working to make sure that businesses aren't unduly harmed during this shutdown, and some are working to make sure that the Federal Government extends a helping hand to those people that are the most vulnerable and are truly in need.

So what this bill does is simply say, as long as this shutdown is going on, until it ends, the people that come to work every day deserve to be paid. They deserve to be paid on time. Remember, the people who come to work every day, they're just like everybody else. They've got bills to pay. They've got mortgage payments they've got to make. They've got to pay their rent. They've got to make car payments. They've got to pay their utility bills. They've got mouths to feed back home. There is no reason that they should be punished because the Democrats and the Republicans and the White House can't agree how to move forward on funding the Federal Government.

Now, it's the goal of this Congress, as always, to make sure that Federal employees are paid and they're paid on time, and we usually do that by passing appropriations bills, and we do that. We fund the programs, and the salaries are paid on a continuing basis. We usually do that by the end of the fiscal year. It didn't happen this year, and I hope we don't find ourselves in this position ever again. But right now, it's time to come together. This is a logical, commonsense step to take--to make sure the people that go to work every day get paid on time.

We came together on Saturday, this weekend, on a unanimous vote, and said that those Federal employees who have been furloughed would be paid on a retroactive basis. It's my hope that we can come together today on a unanimous vote and say the people that go to work are going to get paid on time.

So I urge my colleagues to adopt this resolution; and with that, I reserve the balance of my time.

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Mr. CRENSHAW. I yield myself the balance of my time.

Mr. Speaker, I don't think anybody in this Chamber wanted to see the government shut down. Nobody wanted to see it down.

As has been pointed out, we passed a continuing resolution, funded the government, sent it to the United States Senate, and they said ``no.'' So we sent another resolution that kept the government open. The Senate said ``no.'' A third time we sent a resolution to the United States Senate to keep the government open. The Senate said ``no.''

Then we said, Why don't we just sit down and talk? Why don't we have a conference committee--one of those committees that we have all the time in this body when the House and the Senate disagree. We call it a conference committee. We appoint a group from the House. They appoint a group from the Senate. We work out the differences. That's the way you resolve conflict. That's the way you move ahead.

So the House appointed eight conferees. We went to a meeting, ready to meet with the Senate. They didn't show up. So we decided they don't really want to have any negotiations about how we continue to fund the Federal Government.

Then we said, If they won't pass a continuing resolution to fund the entire Federal Government, maybe we should just take certain parts of the Federal Government and see if the United States Senate or our friends on the other side would vote in favor of doing that. Of course, everyone has voted to say we ought to keep the government running as it relates to the military--both the defense and civilian employees. So our friends on the other side decided that was a good idea, and they voted for that.

Then we said, Since the District of Columbia is being penalized by our inaction, why don't we pass a bill that says we'll appropriate the money--it's their own money--and let them spend it the way they want to spend it. We had that on a suspension vote, and our friends on the other side didn't want to do that, so they voted ``no.''

Then we had a bill on Saturday that talked about folks that are on furlough, and our friends on the other side said, That's a good idea. We ought to pay them retroactively.

So they've been picking and choosing, picking and choosing, and some of these bills passed. In fact, if you add up all the bills we've passed, there have been 10 bills now that keep the government running in different ways shapes, and forms--that's almost one-third of all the discretionary spending--and we passed all that.

Where are those bills? They're sitting down in the Senate, waiting for the Senate to do something.

So we find ourselves in a situation that we didn't want to be in. We're all frustrated--people are angry--but we'll keep going. We're going to try to get the government running again. We're going to try to keep things open.

But for goodness sake, this bill before us today simply says the folks that are coming to work are doing the things that are important to our Federal Government, and they ought to get paid. If you work, you get paid, and you get paid on time. I think everybody agrees with that.

So let's not penalize them. A lot of people are being penalized because of our inaction, but let's not penalize the people who come to work every day to meet the critical needs of our country. Let's make sure that they get paid. Sooner or later, Mr. Speaker, we'll open this government back up. We've tried to do almost a third of it now. Still, people say no. We'll move ahead.

With that, I simply urge all of my colleagues to vote in favor of this legislation to make sure that the people who are working get paid on time.

I yield back the balance of my time.

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