Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.) cosponsored the Federal Employee Civil Relief Act, legislation led by Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii). The new legislation would protect federal workers and their families from foreclosures, evictions, and loan defaults during a government shutdown.
“Hard working federal employees in Nevada, and across the country, are already making sacrifices as they fight to provide for their families, pay their bills, and keep a roof over their heads,” said Cortez Masto. “Our public servants and their families shouldn’t be threatened with being thrown out of their homes because of a President who manufactured a crisis and shut down our government.”
“While the President and Senate Republicans struggle to get their act together, real people are suffering,” said Senator Schatz. “Right now, thousands of federal workers and their families are struggling to pay rent and make ends meet. It’s absolutely unacceptable. Our bill will protect federal workers and make sure they aren’t harmed because of a political stunt.”
The bill addresses the real threat of federal workers 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. Modeled after the Servicemembers Relief Act, the Schatz-Kilmer 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 Federal Employee Civil Relief Act 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 protection would last during and 30 days following a shutdown to give workers a chance to keep up with their bills. The partial government shutdown, now in its third week, hurts more than 800,000 federal workers in all 50 states.
Cosponsors include U.S. Senators Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.), Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Mazie K. Hirono (D-Hawaii), and Mark Warner (D-Va.). Companion legislation in the House of Representatives was introduced by U.S. Representative Derek Kilmer (D-Wash.).