Dems Introduce Bill to Protect Fed Workers From Foreclosure, Eviction During Government Shutdown
John Jordan | January 2019
WASHINGTON—A bill has been introduced in the U.S. Senate to protect 800,000 federal workers, including thousands across New York State, and their families, from potentially losing their homes, facing apartment eviction or falling behind on bills that could then go to collection.
On the 30th day of the partial federal government shutdown, US Senator Brian Schatz (D-HI) has introduced “The Federal Employee Civil Relief Act,” which is modeled after the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA). The legislation addresses the 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 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.
The legislation 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 bill is co-sponsored by US Sens. Charles Schumer (D-NY) and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) and 23 other Senators. Sen. Schumer announced the introduction of the bill on Jan. 20.
Sen. Schumer strongly urged bipartisan support of the Federal Employee Civil Relief Act to protect the 800,000 federal workers and contractors that are either furloughed or working without pay, from experiencing negative credit events during any shutdown.
“Across New York City and Long Island thousands of people and their families continue to suffer through a needless government shutdown that has absolutely nothing to do with the federal agencies they so diligently serve. Their bills are piling up and their worry for how they will pay their rent, mortgage, car payment, student loan, as well as other bills just keeps growing with each passing day,” said U.S. Senator Schumer. “That is why, amidst another push to open the government, I am fighting with my colleagues for necessary financial protections for impacted federal workers during this shutdown and for workers of any future shutdown, because no federal public servant should have their financial well-being held hostage by a President unwilling to simply open the government in the middle of a debate.”
Co-sponsors of the Federal Employee Civil Relief Act in the Senate include U.S. Senators Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Benjamin Cardin (D-MD), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV), Margaret Hassan (D-NH), Martin Heinrich (D-NH), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Christopher Murphy (D-CT), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Mark Warner (D-VA), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Timothy Kaine (D-VA), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Doug Jones (D-AL, Robert Menéndez (D-NJ), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), John Reed (D-RI), Tina Smith (D-MN), Tom Udall (D-NM), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI).