WASHINGTON – Thirteen days into a government shutdown, U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Senator Susan Collins (R-Maine) and 28 Senate colleagues have re-introduced legislation that would protect federal and other government workers from the repercussions of this and future lapses in federal appropriations. The Government Employee Fair Treatment Act, which the Senate passed by unanimous consent prior to Christmas in the 115th Congress, would guarantee that furloughed federal employees will be paid retroactively and stipulates that all employees shall be paid as soon as possible after the lapse in appropriations ends. The bill also clarifies that excepted employees who have scheduled previously approved leave occurring during an appropriations lapse may indeed take that leave without undue penalty. The bill also clarifies that its provisions also apply to employees of the District of Columbia (DC) Government, D.C. Courts, and D.C. Public Defenders Service, who are also affected by federal government shutdowns.
“Federal workers are dedicated public servants who simply want to do their jobs on behalf of the American people. They shouldn’t continue to suffer – working dangerous jobs without knowing when their next paycheck may come, or being forcibly furloughed and unable to carry out their mission – because of extreme partisan gamesmanship,” said Senator Cardin. “This and all government shutdowns have real consequences for hard-working federal employees across the country and the local economies they support as consumers. Congress should pass this bill and the president should sign it as a symbol of good faith and respect for the men and women who keep our country safe and moving forward.”
“The partial government shutdown represents a failure to govern and harms not only those who need to interact with the closed agencies, but also hundreds of thousands of federal employees and their families,” said Senator Collins. “Civil servants bring dedication, competence, and experience to their work, and I appreciate all that they do for our government and our nation. Our legislation would guarantee that they are paid retroactively as soon as appropriations are restored. I am also continuing to discuss with the White House and my colleagues on both sides of the aisle ways to bring an end to the shutdown so that furloughed federal employees can return to work as quickly as possible.”
Joining Senators Cardin and Collins as original cosponsors of the Government Employee Fair Treatment Act are: Senators Diane Feinstein (D-Calif.), Tammy Baldwin (D-Wisc.), Tim Kaine (D-Va.), Jack Reed (D-R.I.), Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii), Ed Markey (D-Mass.), Doug Jones (D-Ala.), Richard Durbin (D-Ill.), Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), Chris Coons (D-Del.), Tina Smith (D-Minn.), Tom Carper (D-Del.), Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass), Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.), Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), Joe Manchin (D-W.V.), Mark Warner (D-Va.), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), and Kamala Harris (D-Calif.)