Press Releases

Beyer and Wittman Introduce Bill To Protect Federal Workers, With Government Shutdown Looming Amid Budget Uncertainty

f t # e
Washington, December 20, 2017 | comments

Rep. Don Beyer (D-VA) and Rob Wittman (R-VA) today introduced bipartisan legislation to protect federal employees’ pay in the event of a government shutdown. The Federal Employee Retroactive Pay Act would guarantee back pay for all furloughed workers if Congress and the White House are unable to come to a funding agreement.

“We absolutely do not want to see a shutdown of the federal government, but if it comes we must act to protect federal workers from the consequences,” said Rep. Beyer. “If the government shuts down due to Congress’ failure to pass a budget, the effects on civil servants, who need to support their families, would be disastrous without this bill. We cannot allow that to happen.”

A shutdown would temporarily suspend paychecks for federal employees, and retroactive pay for federal workers must be approved by Congress. The Beyer-Wittman legislation would guarantee that no federal employees would lose pay if a government shutdown occurs.

"Federal employees should not suffer because Congress refuses to end its govern by crisis mentality," Rep. Wittman said. "Preparing the retroactive pay legislation sends a signal to our federal workers that they won't be forgotten in the unfortunate event of a shutdown. While this legislation minimizes the impacts of funding uncertainty, my focus remains on returning Congress to a regular schedule of budgeting and passing appropriations bills."

Together the two Virginia Congressmen represent nearly 120,000 federal employees.

“The National Treasury Employees Union applauds Rep. Beyer and Rep. Wittman for introducing this legislation,” said NTEU National President Tony Reardon. “They recognize that frontline federal employees should not lose pay in the event of a shutdown of the federal government. These employees do not control the funding of the federal government and should not suffer when that funding runs out. I hope we do not get to the shutdown stage but I support this effort to protect the federal workforce.”

Funding for the federal government is set to expire at midnight on Friday, December 22.

"AFGE would like to thank Congressman Beyer (D-VA) and Congressman Wittman (R-VA) for introducing the ‘Federal Employee Retroactive Pay Fairness Act,’” said American Federation of Government Employees National President J. David Cox. “Federal employees are hardworking public servants who are dedicated to providing quality public services.  Federal employees and their families should not be forced to go without pay when they are not allowed to do their jobs because Congress cannot pass a funding measure. Too many Americans—veterans, seniors, and other hardworking people rely on services provided by the federal government.  In a government shutdown, it is the American people who pay the price.”

In addition to Reps. Beyer and Wittman, the bill has 25 bipartisan cosponsors. Text of the legislation can be viewed here.

f t # e