WASHINGTON— The 35-day partial government shutdown is over for now.
Washington was back to “business as usual” since the President Donald Trump and Congress agreed to temporarily reopen the government.
Hundreds of thousands of federal employees effected by the shutdown returned to work on Monday, with a new February 15 deadline to keep an eye on.
“Many federal workers actually live paycheck to paycheck and as a result of the shutdown, the longest in us history, some of those workers had to take out loans,” saids Sen. Tammy Baldwin.
Although Congress has already guaranteed those impacted will receive backpay, Sen. Baldwin says that’s not enough.
She’s co-sponsoring the “Back Pay Fairness Act” to pay what they’re owed plus interest.
“It seems only fair to these federal workers that they be made a little more whole by getting interest on their backpay,” said Sen. Baldwin.
This bill is on the top of Sen. Baldwin;s to-do list.
The White House, however wants lawmakers to shift the conversation back to the border wall.
The clock is ticking and now a 17-member bipartisan committee has less than three weeks to find a legislative solution both Congress and the President can agree on before the government closes again.
“I think that he is seeing the negotiations for what it is,” said Mercedes Schlapp, White House Director of Strategic Communications. “This is an opportunity for Congress to act. It's an opportunity for Congress to speak with the experts.”
Sen. Baldwin would like to see the conversation shift beyond just a wall toward more comprehensive immigration reform.
“I think that’s a good starting point with additional discussion,” she said. “But what I will say is that I don’t believe that either house of congress or the majority of American people have an appetite to find a wall that Pres. Trump said Mexico was going to pay for. What we want to do is get away from this 2000 mile long wall that Mexico was supposed to pay for top the idea of using taxpayer dollars as smartly and effectively that needs to be done.”