Officers in the Department of Homeland Security stand to serve with honor and dignity despite the political posturing by those in Congress wishing to express their displeasure with President Obama’s immigration policies. While officers including the tens of thousands in the Transportation Security Administration will not be paid in the event of a shutdown, some are standing up to honor their service.
In that spirit, American Federation of Government Employees National President J. David Cox Sr. has applauded Sen. Ben Cardin (D-MD) for introducing legislation that would ensure employees in the Department of Homeland Security are paid retroactively in the event of a funding lapse.
The Senate bill is a companion to a bipartisan House bill introduced Feb. 24 by Reps. Don Beyer and Rob Wittman of Virginia.
“Homeland Security employees should not be left wondering when or if they will get paid in the event of a shutdown,” Cox said. “Forcing them to work without pay or stay home during a shutdown is traumatic enough, without the added worry about whether they will receive the pay they are due.”
Joining Cardin as original cosponsors of the Senate bill are Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin, Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut, Barbara Boxer of California, Tom Carper of Delaware, Kirsten Gillibrand of New York, Tim Kaine of Virginia, Patrick Leahy of Vermont, Ed Markey of Massachusetts, Barbara Mikulski of Maryland, Patty Murray of Washington, Bernie Sanders of Vermont, Tom Udall of New Mexico, and Mark Warner of Virginia.
“I thank all of the Senators and Representatives who have signed on to this common sense legislation. While I still hold out hope that Congress will keep DHS open and operating past the end of the week, passing this bill would alleviate at least one concern for employees,” Cox said.
About 200,000 DHS employees would be required to report to work without pay if Congress does not pass a funding bill for the department by the end of the week. These include Transportation Security Officers, Border Patrol agents, and Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers. Another 30,000 employees would be furloughed without pay during a shutdown. The American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) is the largest federal employee union, representing 670,000 workers in the federal government and the government of the District of Columbia, including more than 83,000 in the Department of Homeland Security.
Their service is true American exceptionalism