The last government shutdown wreaked havoc on federal employees’ finances by forcing them to go 35 long days without a paycheck. Employees couldn’t pay their bills, relied on food pantries to feed their families, and had long-term plans like weddings and buying a home upended by the unexpected financial strain.
That’s why AFGE worked with members of Congress to make sure no federal employees have to face financial hardship due to political shutdowns ever again. And we are happy to report that a bill to protect our members against the financial impact of future shutdowns, which we support, passed the House of Representatives Sept. 19.
The Shutdown Guidance for Financial Institutions Act ( H.R. 2290 ), introduced by Rep. Jennifer Wexton, D-Va., would require federal and state regulators to issue shutdown guidance with 24 hours of a shutdown to financial institutions encouraging them to work with consumers and businesses impacted by a lapse in appropriations.
Wexton said she introduced the bill after hearing from a furloughed federal employee who was almost denied a mortgage as the mortgage lender wrongly considered her unemployed and too much of a risk to finance.
“Missing a paycheck is a hardship for many families, but missing two can be devastating,” Wexton said in a statement. “And that’s exactly what too many of my constituents were forced to endure during the last government shutdown . . . With just a few legislative days left for Congress to take action before yet another government shutdown, this bill helps ensure that our federal workers and contractors are not punished for a shutdown they didn’t cause.”
AFGE thanks Rep. Wexton for standing up for federal employees. We are working with the Senate to pass the bill.
AFGE also supports another bill introduced by House Financial Services Committee Chairwoman Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., that would block credit downgrades related to a government shutdown.
The bill, The Protecting Innocent Consumers Affected by a Shutdown Act ( H.R. 4328 ), passed House Financial Services Committee Sept. 20.