U.S. Discloses Federal Pay Schedule as Possible Shutdown Looms

(Bloomberg) -- U.S. Justice Department lawyers laid out details of upcoming pay dates for federal workers, underscoring the impact another partial government shutdown would have if President Donald Trump fails to reach a deal with lawmakers in the coming days.

The lawyers disclosed the pay schedule in a federal court filing Thursday in Washington after Judge Richard Leon asked for the information. Leon is presiding over a trio of federal worker lawsuits that challenged the U.S.’s right to make them work without pay during the record 35-day shutdown that ended Jan. 25.

Hundreds of thousands of federal employees were forced to work without pay last month after Trump refused to back bipartisan spending legislation that didn’t include $5.7 billion for the construction of a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border -- a signature campaign promise. The president has fought bitterly with leading Democratic lawmakers, who have refused to fund the wall.

The top Democrat and Republican working on a border-security deal said Thursday they’re nearing an accord but that negotiations may go into the weekend. Senate Appropriations Chairman Richard Shelby, an Alabama Republican who met with Trump on Thursday, said the president "encouraged us to continue to negotiate to seek a legislative solution."

Funding for several government agencies is set to expire once again on Feb. 15. If a spending deal is not in place, the first paycheck federal workers would miss would be on March 8, assuming the shutdown lasted that long, according to the filing.

The litigation is being led by the National Treasury Employees’ Union, which represents 150,000 workers across 33 departments and agencies. Last month Leon denied the employees’ bid for a temporary court order that could have compelled the government to pay them or let them take jobs elsewhere. He has alreadyscheduled a Feb. 22 hearing if a second shutdown happens.

©2019 Bloomberg L.P.