A D.C. Council member who has repeatedly sought to broker a compromise agreement to pay District workers for furlough days they were forced to take in 2011 said that a vote slated for next week could be the last opportunity for lawmakers to approve a deal.
"I think Tuesday is the last shot," at-large Councilman Michael Brown told The Washington Examiner. "My sense is that we have a chance."
Even though legislators have voted down furlough payment plans three times, Brown served notice Wednesday that he would raise the issue once more.
After negotiations including council members and the mayor's office, Brown said Thursday evening that his proposal would:
-- include more than $20 million to immediately pay city workers for all four of the furlough days they were required to take;
-- put $6 milllion into the Housing Production Trust Fund;
-- and pump a to-be-determined amount into the DC Healthcare Alliance, a city-run insurance program that largely serves illegal immigrants.
"I think I'll be working on it all the way through Tuesday," Brown said. "I don't want this to be a close vote."
For weeks, proposals to pay workers for the furlough days have repeatedly dogged lawmakers. So far, legislators have rejected three plans -- one of them unanimously, but the other two by tight margins.
District leaders have been contemplating paying the furlough days since the city announced it had ended its fiscal year with a $240 million surplus, with Mayor Vincent Gray contending that because the city ultimately didn't need the extra cash, it should pay its workers.
Labor unions, which hold significant sway in District politics, have also advocated for the payments.
District officials ordered the furloughs last year as they sought to close a budget deficit. The decision changed four paid holidays -- Presidents Day, Emancipation Day, Memorial Day and Independence Day -- to unpaid days.
If Brown is correct and Tuesday proves to be the final chance for the supplemental budget, other Gray proposals will also be at stake, including $25 million for public schools.
Pedro Ribeiro, a spokesman for Gray, said the mayor wanted the council to back a full supplemental package.
"We remain hopeful that the council will act to address the needs of the District's students, residents and workers," Ribeiro said.