U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin
Press Release

U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin Urges Trump Administration to Pay Federal Workers Affected by the Shutdown Immediately

"This government shutdown made it clearer than ever just how dedicated civil servants are to their jobs, and how vital those jobs are to the nation."

By - Jan 28th, 2019 02:55 pm

WASHINGTON, D.C. Today, U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin joined a bipartisan group of her Senate colleagues, led by Senator Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), in writing to Acting Director of the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) Margaret M. Weichert, urging the Trump administration to provide back pay for federal workers as soon as possible.

The Senators write, “More than 800,000 federal workers have gone without pay because the government shutdown locked them out of their jobs or required them to work without pay. These workers need to know now when they will finally receive their missed paychecks.”

They continue, We supported the recently enacted Government Employee Fair Treatment Act, which ensured that all federal workers would receive back pay. That law mandates that the federal government shall provide back pay, ‘at the earliest date possible after the lapse in appropriations ends, regardless of scheduled pay dates.’”

They close the letter stating, “This government shutdown made it clearer than ever just how dedicated civil servants are to their jobs, and how vital those jobs are to the nation. We ask that you publicize when exactly these civil servants can expect to receive their back pay, and we hope it will arrive very soon.”

Joining Senators Baldwin and Van Hollen are U.S. Senators Michael Bennet (D-CO), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Ben Cardin (D-MD), Tom Carper (D-DE), Susan Collins (R-ME), Chris Coons (D-DE), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV), Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Kamala Harris (D-CA), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Doug Jones (D-AL), Tim Kaine (D-VA), Angus King (I-ME), Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Jack Reed (D-RI), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Brian Schatz (D-HI), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Tom Udall (D-NM), Mark Warner (D-VA), Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA).

The full letter is available here and below.

Dear Acting Director Weichert:

Now that the longest ever government shutdown is finally over, we are writing to urge you to provide back pay for federal workers as soon as possible. More than 800,000 federal workers have gone without pay because the government shutdown locked them out of their jobs or required them to work without pay. These workers need to know now when they will finally receive their missed paychecks.

On Friday, January 25th, as President Trump finally announced that he would end this government shutdown, many federal workers missed their second full paycheck. These federal workers have seen bills pile up during the government shutdown, and many of them are currently paying high interest on credit cards or even payday loans to afford basic needs. We have heard from civil servants who will not be able to make their February rent or mortgage payment without their back pay.

We supported the recently enacted Government Employee Fair Treatment Act, which ensured that all federal workers would receive back pay. That law mandates that the federal government shall provide back pay, “at the earliest date possible after the lapse in appropriations ends, regardless of scheduled pay dates.” We are pleased to see your recent OPM guidance reaffirming this requirement in the law. And we note that when President Trump announced he would agree to reopen the government, he said, “I will make sure that all employees receive their back pay very quickly, or as soon as possible. It will happen fast.”

This government shutdown made it clearer than ever just how dedicated civil servants are to their jobs, and how vital those jobs are to the nation. We ask that you publicize when exactly these civil servants can expect to receive their back pay, and we hope it will arrive very soon.

Thank you for your attention to this matter, and we look forward to your response.

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