WASHINGTON — A bill that Sen. Tim Kaine cosponsored making sure federal employees got paid after a government shutdown has passed both the Senate and House of Representatives.
The bill passed Friday requires that all employees, including those who have been furloughed, be paid as soon as possible once the government reopens.
The Senate approved the bill unanimously Thursday.
The bill now heads to President Donald Trump, who is expected to sign it.
America is in day 21 of the government shutdown, and Democratic Senator Tim Kaine said he is working to end it.
Even though Senate if adjourned for the weekend, he's participating in an unusual session with some fellow senators Friday, as well as a round table meeting with federal employee's.
As for the more than 800,000 federal employees getting nothing for this payday, there might be a sigh of relief, knowing a new bill means they'll get paid, once government re-opens.
Friday morning on 13News Now Daybreak, Kaine said this new bill, Government Employee Fair Treatment Act of 2019 (S.24), was unanimously passed by senators Thursday night. The bill passed the House Friday afternoon.
Full Interview with Sen. Tim Kaine:
This bill guarantees pay to every federal worker affected by the current and future shutdowns.
"The House is going to pass it today,” said Kaine. "So, we at least wanted to federal workers a little bit of a positive message on today, which is a tough day for so many."
When asked how the bill passed, Kaine said it was because of his objection to breaking for the weekend, while in a partial shutdown.
"If you want to have a debate about a wall and border security let's do that separately. Let's not punish all these people with agencies completely unrelated to it,” said Kaine.
Even with a silver lining, the standoff between President Donald Trump and Congress continues. Thursday, President Trump spoke with the press near the border.
He sounded ready to declare a "national emergency" so he can get around Congress and build the wall.
Kaine’s response to that is, "[Trump] wouldn't say that if he didn't realize he's starting to lose Congress on this."
In the meantime, 420,000 government employees are working without pay. Another 380,000, like the Coast Guard, are home without pay.
Kaine pointed out the part of the Coast Guard’s job helps protect our country from illegal drugs being carried in here.
"Why would you shutter the Coast Guard to make a point about border security? It's absolutely insane and we have to stop it as soon as we can," Kaine said.
To end the partial shutdown, representatives in the House passed a new bill that could re-open the government. Senator Kaine said all Democratic Senators support this bill and five more Republican senators are on board.
He predicts government reopening next week.
13News Now reached out to Republican representatives in our region for comment. We have yet to hear back.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.