Schatz proposal would protect federal workers during government shutdowns
Federal employees protesting outside of several locations throughout in Washington on Thursday are among the 800,000 who will likely be without a paycheck Friday due to the government shutdown. That’s why Sen. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii) has proposed the Federal Employee Civil Relief Act."
WASHINGTON - Federal employees protesting outside of several locations throughout in Washington on Thursday are among the 800,000 who will likely be without a paycheck Friday due to the government shutdown.
That’s why Sen. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii) has proposed the Federal Employee Civil Relief Act”, legislation that would protect federal employees and their families from foreclosures, evictions, and loan defaults during this and future shutdowns.
“They shouldn’t be harmed in this shutdown,” Schatz told KITV on Thursday. “We can have a discussion about what’s the right mix of border security money, but no conversation is more important than about operating the government.”
The protection would last during and 30 days following a shutdown, according to a statement released by Schatz’s office. That’s good news for the Aloha State. Hawaii is tied with Washington, D.C. and Maryland for the highest share of federal jobs in the country. As a state, Hawaii was ranked the fourth-most affected by the shutdown in the country, according to a Wallet Hub report released last Friday.
Sen. Mazie Hirono is one of the bill’s eleven co-sponsors in the Senate. She calls the shutdown “President Trump’s temper tantrum” in a statement released by Schatz’s office.
“He’s amoral and he’s a hostage-taker,” Hirono told KITV on Thursday. “He’s taken over 800,000 federal employees hostage so that he can get his vanity wall."
The House version of Schatz’s proposal, sponsored by Rep. Derek Kilmer (D-Wash.), has ten sponsors and co-sponsors.
Right now, Sen. Schatz’s proposal does not have any Republican support. He said he’s not surprised, but he hopes some of his GOP colleagues come around.
“We’ve had very constructive discussions,” Schatz said. “They like the idea.”
The Democratic-led U.S. House on Thursday passed a pair of Appropriations bills that would reopen the Department of Transportation, the Food and Drug Administration and others. But those funding packages will have an uphill battle to get through Senate Republicans, and so will this bill.
“Could this actually go months like the President has threatened?” KITV Washington Correspondent Matt Knoedler asked Sen. Hirono.
“I think that would be totally unconscionable,” she replied.