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Federal Eye: Congress repays furloughed DOT workers

Some Transportation Department workers got an even sweeter pay day today.

Last night’s vote to extend jobless benefits until June also provided compensation for the almost 2,000 Transportation Department workers furloughed last month amid disagreements about how to pay for the bill.

Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood applauded the move on his blog this morning.

“It was unfortunate that they had to pay the price for a legislative impasse, and I was glad to see those who were furloughed return to work after only a short time,” LaHood said.

Lawmakers failed to reach an agreement on tax credits, unemployment insurance and federal highway funding in early March, forcing the DOT workers to stay home for two days. Congress then wanted to repay them for lost wages, but Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) delayed a vote with an amendment proposing that lawmakers pay the workers with money from the Congressional budget. That proposal failed.

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John Bourdon

Thanks Ed for the news. After I saw your post I received an email from USDOT Secretary Ray LaHood.

The Secretary LaHood said that he “…wanted to share with the employees the good news that last night Congress passed and the President signed into law legislation giving DOT the authority to pay the affected employees for the days when they were furloughed.” He thanked the DOT employees for their patience as the legislation passed through the House and Senate.