CONGRESSWOMAN ELISE STEFANIK
H.R. 4786 is being considered on the floor under suspension of the rules, requiring a two-thirds majority vote for passage, on March 10, 2010. This legislation was introduced by Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-VA) on March 9, 2010. The bill was referred to the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure and the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, neither of which has taken official action.
H.R. 4786 would provide two days worth of compensation for any federal employees who were furloughed as a result of the expiration of spending from the Highway Trust Fund (HTF) between February 28, 2010, and March 2, 2010. Employees would be compensated "as determined under policies established by the Secretary of Transportation." Under the bill, funds used by the Secretary to provide this compensation would be derived from the HTF.
On February 25, 2010, the House passed H.R. 4691, the Temporary Extension Act of 2010, by voice vote. The bill extended a number of funding expansions and programs set to expire on February 28, 2010, including expanded federal unemployment benefits, the COBRA health insurance premium subsidy, the adjustment to the Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) conversion factor for physician payments, and a one-month extension of authority to finance surface transportation programs from the HTF. The bill was then brought to the Senate, where a hold was placed on the bill by Senator Jim Bunning (R-KY) because none of its provisions were offset, and thus violated the spirit (if not the letter) of the Democrats' own PAYGO rules which had recently become statutory law. On Tuesday, March 2, 2010, after Senate Democrats allowed consideration of a number of amendments, Senator Bunning released his hold on the bill and it passed the Senate by a vote of 78-19. The President signed the bill shortly thereafter. The hold resulted in a two-day lapse in programs authorized and funded by the measure, and resulted in the temporary layoff of some employees. This legislation would provide compensation to employees furloughed for two days as a result of the lapse.
A CBO score for H.R. 4786 was not available at press time, however, the legislation would authorize spending from the HTF to provide two-days of payment to employees.