Dems’ bill aims to pro­tect work­ers

Mur­phy joins ef­fort to help fed­eral em­ploy­ees dur­ing shut­down

The News-Times - - FRONT PAGE - By Ana Rade­lat

WASH­ING­TON — Sen. Chris Mur­phy on Thurs­day joined a group of 22 Demo­cratic law­mak­ers to in­tro­duce a law aimed at pro­tect­ing fed­eral work­ers from fore­clo­sures, evic­tions and loan de­faults dur­ing the gov­ern­ment shut­down.

The leg­is­la­tion, called the Fed­eral Em­ployee Civil Re­lief Act, isn’t likely to be con­sid­ered in the U.S. Se­nate, where GOP lead­ers have de­clined to hold votes on any leg­is­la­tion per­tain­ing to the par­tial gov­ern­ment shut­down that be­gan on Dec. 22.

But by in­tro­duc­ing the bill, Democrats can help pub­li­cize the plight of fed­eral work­ers, many of whom have been fur­loughed for nearly three weeks or are work­ing with­out pay. Na­tion­ally, 800,000 fed­eral work­ers are af­fected by the par­tial shut­down, about 1,500 in Con­necti­cut.

Most of them will miss their first pay­checks on Fri­day, vic­tims of a stand­off be­tween Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump and con­gres­sional Democrats over the fund­ing of the pres­i­dent’s bor­der wall.

“My con­stituents back home in Con­necti­cut shouldn’t have to won­der when they’re go­ing to get their next pay­check or when they’re go­ing back to work be­cause the pres­i­dent isn’t get­ting his wall that no one on the bor­der wants any­way,”Mur­phy said. “Pres­i­dent Trump and Se­nate Repub­li­cans need to end this shut­down and open the gov­ern­ment to­day.”

The Fed­eral Em­ployee Civil Re­lief Act would 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 em­power fed­eral work­ers to sue cred­i­tors or land­lords that vi­o­late this pro­tec­tion. It aims to pro­tect fed­eral work­ers and con­trac­tors from be­ing evicted or fore­closed on; hav­ing their car or other prop­erty re­pos­sessed; fall­ing be­hind in stu­dent loan pay­ments and los­ing in­sur­ance be­cause of missed pre­mi­ums.

Pro­tec­tion would last un­til 30 days fol­low­ing a shut­down to give work­ers a chance to keep up with their bills.

Hearst Con­necti­cut Me­dia file photo

U.S. Sen. Chris Mur­phy

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