As Senator Continues To Make The Case & Urge ‘Open The Government,’ NYC & Long Island Fed Worker Stories Show How Necessary Financial Protections Are For People Who Rely On Their Jobs In Agencies That Have Nothing To Do With Current Debate

Third Of The Fed Workforce In NYC/LI Is Feeling Pain--While Each and Every Taxpayer Suffers

Schumer: No Fed Worker Should Have Their Financial Well-Being Held Hostage By A President

On the 30th day of a needless government shutdown, U.S. Senator Charles Schumer pushed a new plan to protect 800,000 federal workers, thousands across New York, and their families, from potentially losing their homes, facing apartment eviction or falling behind on bills that could then go to collection. Schumer detailed the new legislation —The Federal Employee Civil Relief Act—as he made the continuing case to open the government. Schumer also detailed the Senate support the bill currently has and explained the protections included in the legislation as he stood with some who have been impacted by this 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 Charles 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.”  

The Federal Employee Civil Relief Act, introduced by U.S. Senator Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii), and cosponsored by Senator Schumer and now twenty-four other Senators, will protect federal workers, including thousands of New Yorkers impacted by the shutdown from further financial hardship. The bill, modeled after the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA), addresses the real 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.

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.

“It’s been more than a week since 800,000 employees missed a paycheck. That comes out to literally hundreds of thousands of Americans and their families who are resorting to desperate measures to make ends meet after a missed paycheck. Some are delaying payments to their landlords, banks, and credit card companies. Others are withdrawing money early from their retirement accounts and incurring penalties. This has gone on for far too long, and these protections are far too important to ignore,” Schumer added.

According to The New York Times, almost two-thirds of federal workers likely have less than two weeks of expenses set aside to live, based on research of the 2013 government shutdown. The New York Times detailed the percentage of federal workers by the number of days’ expenses they can cover with cash reserves: 18% of federal workers can cover less than one day with cash reserves; 28% can cover 1-7 days with cash reserves; 18% can cover one to two weeks with cash reserves; and 36% can cover two weeks or more with cash reserves.

The partial government shutdown, now in its fourth week and on its 30th day, has left 800,000 federal workers—thousands in New York—without a paycheck. Now these workers are being forced to take a myriad of measures, including sharply cutting discretionary spending and being late paying mortgages, rent and other bills, so they can continue to support themselves and their families, even without a paycheck.

Schumer’s offices across New York have received calls from the thousands of people negatively impacted by the partial government shutdown. They have shared the measures they are taking so they can continue working without pay, paying their mortgage, or even putting food on the table. Many Customs and Border Patrol officers who work at JFK cannot afford to commute to work, so they have stopped going to work or they have even resorted to staying at work to avoid any commute at all. Other federal workers have told Schumer they are concerned about losing their car insurance, not being able to pay their mortgage or rent, and not being able to pay for other bills such as electric to keep the lights on.

Schumer is not only continuing to urge the President to open the government, but he is also urging his colleagues to support the Federal Employee Civil Relief Act, which would protect these federal workers and their financial well-being during the unfortunate event of a government shutdown.

Cosponsors of the Federal Employee Civil Relief Act in the Senate include U.S. Senators Tammy Baldwin (D-W.I.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Sherrod Brown (D-O.H.), Benjamin Cardin (D-M.D.), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-N.V.), Margaret Hassan (D-N.H.), Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.), Mazie Hirono (D-H.I.), Christopher Murphy (D-C.T.), Chris Van Hollen (D-M.D.), Mark Warner (D-V.A.), Richard Blumenthal (D-C.T.), Timothy Kaine (D-V.A.), Amy Klobuchar (D-M.N.), Dianne Feinstein (D-C.A.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Doug Jones (D-A.L.), Robert Menéndez (D-N.J.), Jeff Merkley (D-O.R.), John Reed (D-R.I.), Tina Smith (D-M.N.), Tom Udall (D-N.M.), Elizabeth Warren (D-M.A.), and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.).


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