Senate Democrats introduce bill to pay back furloughed contract workers
For the 800,000 federal employees who have been furloughed by the partial government shutdown, life is pretty shitty right now, as they try to figure out how to make ends meet without their paychecks. They at least have the ability to go to creditors and tell them that once the shutdown is over, they’ll get their back pay and will be able to get caught up. More than a million contractors who work for the federal government don’t have that luxury, since they weren’t included in a bill to provide back pay passed by Congress.
Senate Democrats are trying to remedy that, with legislation sponsored by Sens. Tina Smith of Minnesota, Sherrod Brown of Ohio, Chris Van Hollen and Ben Cardin of Maryland, and Mark Warner and Tim Kaine of Virginia. “This bill is about helping a group of people who are often invisible—people who work in the cafeterias, who clean offices after everyone else goes home, security guards who keep our buildings safe overnight,” said Sen. Smith in a statement announcing the legislation. “These low- and mid-wage federal contract workers have had to go without pay for weeks now, and in past shutdowns, haven’t received back pay. That’s wrong and that’s what my bill is trying to fix.”
There are about 1.2 million contractors who aren’t getting paid, “ranging from cooks and custodians to employees of consulting giants like Deloitte LLP and Accenture PLC, according to Paul Light, a New York University professor who studies federal workers.” They are being driven “nuts” by the uncertainty, he says. The contracts the federal government has with their employers aren’t being paid, so they’re not getting paid. One of them is Brent Langdon, an information technology tech for the Agriculture Department in Colorado. “It’s very concerning right now. … I’m looking for side gigs, something to help pay the bills.”
That pain trickles down to the whole economy. Bloomberg analysts “found that federal contractors could be out as much as $200 million a day in lost or delayed revenue from the shutdown.”
$200 million a day. Tell us once again how Republicans are fiscally responsible.
Call your Republican senators at 202-224-3121 and tell them to reopen government. Don’t stop until this is over.