Press Releases

Beyer, Wittman Build Support to Protect Federal Workers

Bill Would Ensure Federal Workers Paid During Shutdown

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Washington, September 22, 2015 | Tia Shuyler (202-225-4376) | comments

Congressman Don Beyer (D-VA) and Congressman Rob Wittman (R-VA) distributed a letter to House colleagues today to build support for the Federal Employee Retroactive Pay Fairness Act.  The bipartisan proposal has already collected 24 cosponsors ahead of its introduction next week to protect federal worker pay in the event of a shutdown. 

“Our federal employees work every day to carry out vital missions keeping our country healthy, safe, and strong,” said Rep. Beyer.  “Their pay, and their family’s well-being, should not be in jeopardy because Congress failed to do its job again.  I hope my colleagues on Capitol Hill empathize with the anguish these funding battles cause hard-working American families.” 

Federal employee pay is suspended in the event of a funding lapse or government shutdown.  Retroactive pay for all “essential” and “non-essential” federal workers must be approved by Congress. 

"Consistency and certainty in government funding is critical for our federal employees to carry out the vital missions with which they've been tasked,” said Rep. Wittman. “Congress' unfortunate tendency to govern by crisis stymies the efforts of these dedicated public servants. I will fight to minimize the impacts of this funding uncertainty on the well-being of our federal workers and their families, while also working to return Congress to a regular schedule of budgeting and passing appropriations bills." 

Congressman Beyer’s 8th District and Congressman Wittman’s 1st District are home to approximately 120,000 federal employees combined. 

The text of the letter follows:

September 22, 2015

Support the Federal Employee Retroactive Pay Fairness Act 

Dear Colleague:

We write concerning the current stalemate over funding for the federal government and ask that you join us as cosponsors of the Federal Employee Retroactive Pay Fairness Act. This bipartisan proposal ensures that all federal employees receive retroactive pay for the duration of any shutdown, regardless of furlough status.

As you know, absent congressional action, appropriations for the federal government will expire at midnight on September 30, at which point funding will lapse and the government will shut down for the second time in two years. Should this occur, federal employees who are “excepted” would be asked to work without pay until a funding agreement is reached. The remainder, some 800,000 or so, would be furloughed without pay. In order to make these individuals whole again Congress must approve retroactive payment through the legislative process.

Preferably, Congress will reach an agreement to enact legislation to fully fund the government and allow our dedicated federal workforce to continue to carry out its critical mission. In absence of such agreement and with time running dangerously short, federal employees should be assured that there is agreement in Congress that they will receive their full pay in a fair and timely manner.

We hope you will join us as a cosponsor and give federal employees and their families some measure of confidence that they will receive pay for the time they worked or were furloughed during a government shutdown.


Donald S. Beyer Jr.                                          Robert J. Wittman

Member of Congress                                     Member of Congress



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