The Republicans could have argued that government workers don’t do anything anyway so the shutdown is not even really costly, but they’ve apparently decided not to go that route. Of course this eliminates a major constituency for a deal; now 90% of workers will want the shutdown to continue!
As the fifth day of the federal government shutdown began, members of the House came together in a moment of rare bipartisanship to pass a bill, by a vote of 407 to 0, approving back pay for furloughed government workers. President Obama has expressed his support for the measure. Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid supports the measure, but said Saturday that if furloughed workers are guaranteed back pay, there’s no reason to keep them out of work.