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Senator Hassan and Congresswoman Kuster Join Colleagues in Introducing Legislation to Help Protect Federal Workers from Long-Term Financial Hardships During a Government Shutdown

WASHINGTON – Senator Maggie Hassan and Congresswoman Annie Kuster today joined their Senate and House colleagues in introducing the Federal Employee Civil Relief Act. The new legislation would protect federal workers and their families from foreclosures, evictions, and loan defaults during a government shutdown.

“Our federal workers who have dedicated their careers to public service are now struggling to make ends meet during this senseless, politically motivated shutdown,” Senator Hassan said. “This bill would lend support to our federal workers and ensure that their families are protected from hardships – such as evictions and loan defaults – during this shutdown, and any future shutdowns.”

“I’ve heard from people in New Hampshire impacted by the government shutdown and about the anxiety it is causing them and their families,” Congresswoman Kuster said. “Thousands of government employees in New Hampshire are impacted by this senseless shutdown and are worried about how they will afford food, medication, housing and other essentials. It’s unconscionable that President Trump and Mitch McConnell would continue to hold these public employees hostage. This shutdown must end now. In the meantime, we should act on this legislation to bring much-needed stability to hardworking government employees and their families across the country.”

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, this 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.