A press release from Office of Rep. Derek Kilmer.
On. Sept. 30, U.S. Representative Derek Kilmer (WA-06) and U.S. Senator Brian Schatz (D-Hawai‘i) reintroduced the Federal Employee Civil Relief Act to protect federal workers and their families from foreclosures, evictions, and loan defaults during a government shutdown. The Federal Employee Civil Relief Act would enable government employees and contractors to postpone payment obligations during a shutdown and for 30 days afterward.
“No family should be left trying to figure out how to pay bills and provide for their families because of the federal government’s failure to do its job and address our nation’s budgetary challenges,” said Representative Kilmer. “Federal workers aren’t Democrats or Republicans when they show up for work. They are public servants that prepare timber sales in the federal forests, welcome visitors to national parks, ensure citizens can get the services they need, and keep us safe. They shouldn’t be treated like pawns in a game. That’s why I’m leading legislation with Senator Schatz to ensure that if federal workers in our region face another shutdown, we help out the families most affected and provide real relief.”
“Federal workers are dedicated public servants who inspect our food and water, maintain our parks, and care for our veterans. The last choice they should have to make is between feeding their families and keeping the lights on,” said Senator Schatz. “This bill will protect them from any harm that might come while Republicans attempt to score political points.”
During the December 2018 government shutdown, many federal workers received a pay stub with zero dollars on it. This bill addresses the real threat of federal workers and contractors 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. The Federal Employee Civil Relief Act would protect impacted workers from:
- Being evicted or foreclosed;
- Having their car or other property repossessed;
- Falling behind in their student loan payments;
- Having negative effects on their credit history;
- Falling behind in paying their bills; or
- Losing their insurance because of missed premiums.
This protection would last during a shutdown and 30 days following a shutdown to give workers a chance to keep up with their bills. In each of these situations, it would enable these workers to apply to a court to temporarily postpone payment obligations or eviction or foreclosure actions. This would allow courts to weigh the equities of both parties to the contract in deciding how contractual obligations should be treated.
The Federal Employee Civil Relief Act is cosponsored by U.S. Senators Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Tim Kaine (D-Va.), Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Mazie K. Hirono (D-Hawai‘i), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.), Bernie Sanders (D-Vt.), and Chris Murphy (D-Conn.). It is cosponsored in the U.S. House of Representatives by Reps. Gerry Connolly (D-Va.), Cheri Bustos (D-Ill.), and Brendan Boyle (D-Pa.).
This legislation is supported by the American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE), National Treasury Employees Union (NTEU), Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association (FLEOA), and the International Federation of Professional and Technical Engineers (IFPTE).