Warner Introduces Legislation to Protect Federal Workers Who Fall Behind on Bills during Trump Shutdown
Jan 10 2019
Washington – U.S. Sen. Mark R. Warner (D-VA) joined Sen. Brian Schatz (D-HI) to introduce the Federal Employee Civil Relief Act, legislation that would protect federal workers and their families from foreclosures, evictions, and loan defaults during a government shutdown.
“With each day that passes during President Trump’s shutdown, hundreds of thousands of federal employees are worrying about how they will pay for their bills even though their paychecks have stopped coming in,” said Sen. Warner. “This important legislation ensures that federal workers don’t face repercussions for making the hard choice between paying for basic necessities and paying their student loans. This unnecessary shutdown is already hurting federal workers, they don’t need additional hardships that could impact their financial future.”
The Federal Employee Civil Relief Act addresses the real threat of federal workers losing their homes, falling behind on student loans and other bills, having their car repossessed, or losing their health insurance because they have been furloughed during a shutdown or required to work without pay. Modeled after the Servicemembers Relief Act, the legislation will prohibit landlords and creditors from taking action against federal workers or contractors who are hurt by the government shutdown and unable to pay rent or repay loans. The bill would also empower federal workers to sue creditors or landlords that violate this protection. The Federal Employee Civil Relief Act would safeguard workers impacted by a shutdown from the following:
- Being evicted or foreclosed;
- Having their car or other property repossessed;
- Falling behind in student loan payments;
- Falling behind in paying bills; or
- Losing their insurance because of missed premiums.
The protection would last during and 30 days following a shutdown to give workers a chance to keep up with their bills. The partial government shutdown, now in its third week, hurts hundreds of thousands of federal employees and contractors. Virginia alone is home to more than 170,000 federal workers.
Additional cosponsors of the bill include U.S. Sens. Ben Cardin (D-MD), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Maggie Hassan (D-NH), Martin Heinrich (D-NM), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Chris Murphy (D-CT), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Mazie K. Hirono (D-HI) and Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV).
The Federal Employee Civil Act has also been introduced in the House of Representatives by Representative Derek Kilmer (D-WA).