Washington – Sen. Chris Murphy joined a group of 22 Democratic lawmakers on Thursday to introduce a law aimed at protecting federal workers from foreclosures, evictions and loan defaults during the government shutdown.
The legislation, called the Federal Employee Civil Relief Act, isn’t likely to be considered in the U.S. Senate, where GOP leaders have declined to hold votes on any legislation pertaining to the partial government shutdown that began on Dec. 22.
But by introducing the bill, Democrats can help publicize the plight of federal workers, many of whom have been furloughed for nearly three weeks or are working without pay. Nationally, 800,000 federal workers are affected by the partial shutdown, about 1,500 in Connecticut.
Most of them will miss their first pay checks on Friday, victims of a standoff between President Donald Trump and congressional Democrats over the funding of the president’s border wall.
“My constituents back home in Connecticut shouldn’t have to wonder when they’re going to get their next paycheck or when they’re going back to work because the president isn’t getting his wall that no one on the border wants anyway,”Murphy said. “President Trump and Senate Republicans need to end this shutdown and open the government today.”
The Federal Employee Civil Relief Act would 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. It aims to protect federal workers and contractors from being evicted or foreclosed on; having their car or other property repossessed; falling behind in student loan payments and losing insurance because of missed premiums.
Protection would last until 30 days following a shutdown to give workers a chance to keep up with their bills.