President Donald Trump signed a bill providing back pay to federal employees affected by the ongoing partial government shutdown, the White House announced Wednesday.
Trump signed the Government Employee Fair Treatment Act of 2019, which the White House said “requires the compensation of government employees for wages lost, work performed, or leave used during a lapse in appropriations that begins on or after December 22, 2018, and entitles excepted employees to use leave during a lapse in appropriations.”
Sen. Ben Cardin, D-Maryland, who sponsored the bill, tweeted that Trump signing the legislation “is an important step toward providing our civil servants with some stability and hope.”
“But it doesn’t help pay the bills *now.* To do that, we MUST reopen the government. #EndTheShutdown,” added Cardin, whose state neighbors Washington and is home to many federal workers.
Earlier Wednesday the President met with members of the so-called Problem Solvers Caucus, a bipartisan group of members of Congress, to negotiate amid the shutdown revolving around funding a US-Mexico border wall.
White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said the meeting was “constructive” and that the group attendees “listened to one another and now both have a good understanding of what the other wants.”
A member at the White House meeting described it as a respectful exchange of ideas and an agreement to keep talking, but said there were no signs they are closer to a deal. In fact, Democrats kept pushing to reopen the government before immigration talks.