Jan. 30 (UPI) -- The House passed legislation Wednesday to provide a pay raise for federal government workers, nearly a week after the end of the longest government shutdown in history.
The Federal Civilian Workforce Pay Raise Fairness Act, which would provide a 2.6 percent pay increase for federal government workers, was approved in the House by a vote of 259-161.
Rep. Gerry Connolly, D-Va., introduced the bill, which would provide government employees with a pay increase equal to a raise approved for the military earlier this year.
The bill was passed by the newly Democratic-led House, with the assistance of 29 Republicans, five days after President Donald Trump signed a short-term spending bill to reopen the government after. The 35-day shutdown left about 800,000 government employees furloughed or working without pay.
"After five weeks of an unnecessary, costly, and painful shutdown, the American people have been reminded how critical the work our federal employees perform is to our national security and economic security," House Democratic leader Steny Hoyer said.
Critics of the bill, including Rep. Mark Meadows, R-N.C., -- the top Republican on the House Oversight and Reform subcommittee dealing with the federal workforce -- said it hadn't been properly vetted and that across-the-board pay raises were bad policy.
Meadows said the bill "rewards the bad along with the good" and "says it doesn't matter what kind of job you do, and I think that's a terrible message to send," The Washington Post reported.
An alternative measure presented by Republicans that would deny a pay raise for federal employees disciplined for sexual misconduct failed to pass by a 206-216 vote, despite receiving support from 17 Democrats.