The pay of more than 800,000 US federal workers may be jeopardized as the White House is warning about a government shutdown by the next week.
The workers could also be told to stay home, The Washington Post reported on Tuesday, while there is no law that would guarantee their pay if they are sacked. In addition, more than 20 million other employees regarded essential by the government including the active military personnel might not get paid on time, even though they would be still entitled to their salaries, the report said. If the shutdown continues for more than 2 weeks, these employees would work without getting paid for a time, it added. The White House warned federal agencies to prepare for a shutdown as lawmakers wrangled over a budget deadline. The fiscal year ends in within a week, but Congress remains divided over spending and in particular over Obama's landmark healthcare law. The leaders from both parties are currently blaming each other for the problem, but neither is offering a compromise. The US government will run out of money and large functions of the federal government will shut down if Congressmen fail to pass a continuing resolution by midnight Sept. 30, which is the end of the fiscal year. “It’s a very different time and a very different Congress,” said Colleen Kelley, president of the National Treasury Employees Union, which represents 150,000 federal workers. “I’m concerned when employees who were here remember that last time employees were paid and think it will happen again, because it’s not a given at all.” A recent Gallup poll shows that 53% of Americans want the leaders from both parties not to stick to their principles at the expense of getting nothing done but to reach a compromise to avert the shutdown. Concerns over the possible US government shutdown pushed Asian markets down on Tuesday morning, with stocks in Japan, Hong Kong, South Korea, China, the Philippines and Indonesia falling between one and nearly 10 percent.