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Beyer and Wittman Introduce Bill To Protect Federal Workers’ Pay As Threat of Government Shutdown Grows

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Washington, January 18, 2018 | comments

Rep. Don Beyer (D-VA) and Rep. Rob Wittman (R-VA) today introduced the Federal Employee Retroactive Pay Fairness Act, legislation to guarantee back pay to furloughed workers in the event of a government shutdown. Funding for the federal government expires at midnight tomorrow.

“We are working hard to avoid a government shutdown, but if it comes our bill would protect federal workers from the worst of the consequences,” said Rep. Beyer. “This legislation is designed to shield civil servants, who need to support their families, from the disastrous effects of Congress’ failure to agree on a budget measure. We hope it will not be needed, but time is running out.”

The bill was introduced with 40 bipartisan cosponsors.

"Federal employees should not be penalized for Congress’ inability to get its job done on time," Rep. Wittman said. "This legislation sends a clear signal to our federal workers that they will not be harmed in the unfortunate event of a shutdown. While this legislation would minimize 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.

"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.”

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.

“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.”

Text of HR 4827, the Federal Employee Retroactive Pay Fairness Act, can be found here.

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