U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) today joined a group of Senators in introducing the Federal Employee Civil Relief Act. This legislation would protect federal workers and their families from foreclosures, evictions, and loan defaults during a government shutdown. The bill addresses the real threat of federal workers 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. This legislation will 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.
"Workers and their families should not have to face losing their homes or defaulting on loans because of President Trump's temper tantrum. President Trump is hurting the people who make this country work, and he needs to do his job and reopen the government right now. This legislation will help ease suffering among workers impacted by this unnecessary and avoidable shutdown," said Senator Brown.
The Federal Employee Civil Relief Act would safeguard workers impacted by a shutdown from the following:
Being evicted or foreclosed;
Having their car or other property repossessed;
Falling behind in student loan payments;
Falling behind in paying bills; or
Losing their insurance because of missed premiums.
The protection would last during and 30 days following a shutdown to give workers a chance to keep up with their bills. The partial government shutdown, now in its third week, hurts more than 800,000 federal workers in all 50 states.
The bill was introduced by Senator Brian Schatz (D-HI) in the Senate and was cosponsored by Senators Brown, Ben Cardin (D-MD), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Maggie Hassan (D-NH), Martin Heinrich (D-NM), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Chris Murphy (D-CT), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Mark Warner (D-VA), and Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV). The companion bill in the House of Representatives was introduced by Congressman Derek Kilmer (D-WA).
Brown has called on President Trump repeatedly to reopen the government. Yesterday, Brown took to the Senate floor to call on President Trump to end the government shutdown that is hurting American workers. Brown contrasted President Trump's address on Tuesday night with the facts about how the President's temper tantrum is bad for workers and their families.
Earlier this week, Brown met this week with workers who are being hurt by the ongoing government shutdown. Brown plans to introduce legislation to secure back pay for government contract employees who have gone without pay during the government shutdown. Brown is also joining Senate colleagues in a letter this week calling on the Administration to direct federal agencies to ensure government contractors receive the back pay they deserve.
Before the holidays, the Senate unanimously passed a clean funding measure, which Brown supported. The White House indicated it would support that short-term spending measure to fund the government before President Trump abruptly changed course and shut down the government. Last week, the House passed a similar measure to fund the government and reopen the government with bipartisan support.