Press Releases

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senators Mark Warner and Tim Kaine announced plans to introduce legislation to secure back pay for the federal contractors who have gone without pay during the government shutdown. Warner and Kaine were joined by Senators Tina Smith, Sherrod Brown, Chris Van Hollen, and Ben Cardin. 

Each day, thousands of federal contractors provide critical services to support the federal government, often at low wages, and many have been furloughed or forced to accept reduced work hours as a result of the government shutdown. Many of these workers are janitorial, food, and security services workers.

“The ripple effect of this unnecessary government shutdown has already been felt by families of all stripes and walks of life across Virginia. Federal employees should be—and always have been—paid retroactively after a government shutdown. That isn’t the case for many low-wage federal contractors—like janitors, security guards, and cafeteria staff—many of whom are already living paycheck to paycheck,” Warner said. “Virginians and Americans across the country have entrusted Congress to work on their behalf, not abandon them in favor of political brinksmanship.” 

“Virginia is being hit hard by President Trump’s shutdown because we have a high number of federal employees wondering if their paychecks will come, but we also have a lot of federal contractors. We often do bills to make sure that paychecks for federal employees are made whole after a shutdown, but it’s not the same for these hardworking federal contractors who just want to do their jobs. To make it worse, many of these federal contractors are living paycheck-to-paycheck, so this really hurts them. I’m glad we are trying to find a way to make sure some of these workers get paid. This shutdown was completely unnecessary and we need to protect people who have been hurt by President Trump’s actions,” Kaine said.

Warner and Kaine have been outspoken against President Trump’s use of a government shutdown as a negotiating tactic. Virginia is home to more than 170,000 federal employees and tens of thousands of federal contractors.