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White House supports bill to retroactively pay federal workers

Furloughed federal workers Michael Bohne and Melanie Bryan enjoy a game of table tennis at Sixth & I Synagogue's "Shutdown Central" in Washi
Furloughed federal workers Michael Bohne and Melanie Bryan enjoy a game of table tennis at Sixth & I Synagogue's "Shutdown Central" in Washi

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The White House said on Friday that it would support legislation moving through the U.S. Congress that would retroactively pay federal workers who have been furloughed because of the government shutdown.

"This bill alone, however, will not address the serious consequences of the funding lapse, nor will a piecemeal approach to appropriations bills," the White House said in a statement, again urging the House to vote on a Senate-passed stop-gap funding measure.

The House of Representatives could pass the bipartisan measure as early as Saturday to guarantee back-pay to as many as 1 million federal workers who have been furloughed because of Congress' inability to agree on an emergency spending bill.

The Senate also would have to approve the measure before sending it to President Barack Obama for enacting into law.

Among agencies with high furlough rates are the Environmental Protection Agency and Department of Education.

The layoffs have hit hard in Washington, D.C., and its suburbs in Maryland and Virginia, which have large concentrations of federal employees.

The partial government shutdown was ordered on Tuesday, which marked the start of a new fiscal year and the expiration of fiscal 2013 funds. With little sign of compromise on either side, many fear the shutdown will drag on until the government faces the more dire threat of a possible U.S. default on its debts later this month.

(Reporting by Roberta Rampton and Richard Cowan; Editing by Sandra Maler and Jackie Frank)

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