Senate staffers won’t be paid on Friday
By: Burgess Everett
October 15, 2013 04:15 PM EDT
As if things weren’t dire enough on Capitol Hill, Senate staffers learned Tuesday that they have received their last paycheck until government funding is renewed by their bosses.
Due to the now two-week government shutdown, the regular Friday paychecks for all Senate employees will not be disbursed unless a bill is passed to resume government funding by Friday, according to a memo sent to all Senate employees. The chances of a new law funding government passing this week have been thrown into question given the wide policy gulfs between the House and Senate.
“I regret any inconvenience these changes in your pay may cause you. The lapse in funding authority gives this office no choice in the matter,” wrote Financial Clerk of the Senate Christoper Doby to all Senate employees.
The Constitution requires that senators will continue to be paid.
Health and life insurance benefits will continue for staffers, but retroactive pay for furloughed staffers remains in flux. The House has passed a bill giving back-pay to those workers, but it has not yet been taken up by the Senate. If the back pay bill does not become law those that worked during the shutdown will get paid, while those furloughed will not get paid for the sum of the shutdown, according to the memo.
Furlough decisions had been up to individual senators, but Senate Democrats were given the OK by leadership to reevaluate their staffing last week as the shutdown dragged on. Most senators and aides believe the back-pay bill will eventually clear the Senate.
There were more than 5,000 total employees in the upper chamber as of 2005, according to the Sunlight Foundation. Salaries of Senate employees range from under $40,000 to junior-level staffers to more than $170,000 for chiefs of staff and other senior aides.