During his State of the Union address, President Donald Trump dug in on the border security fight, showing little willingness to compromise on his demand for a border wall that led to a government shutdown.
Federal agencies could be shuttered again by presidential edict if lawmakers can’t reach a deal by their Feb. 15 deadline, leaving 800,000 federal workers, once more, without a paycheck.
And while Trump asked Congress to “reject the politics of revenge, resistance, and retribution” Nevada lawmakers are less than optimistic about the possibility of staving off another shutdown.
Following the speech, in Rep. Steven Horsford first bill of the new Congress, he introduced the ‘Pay Workers What They’ve Earned Act’ The bill would also reimburse state and tribal government for costs incurred during government shutdowns like fees, interest, and fines charged to them during a government shutdown.
“The President made clear last night that he’s willing to create another crisis in order to get funding for his ill-advised border wall,” said Horsford. “I want to make sure that our federal workers aren’t on the hook for the costs of that shutdown. Last month, federal employees and contractors learned that simply reopening the government doesn’t help them pay the credit card interest fees, and overdue rent notices that pile up during a government shutdown.”
During the shutdown, Horsford visited TSA employees at McCarran and hosted a roundtable with NV-based IRS employees. Horsford said one of the top worries federal employees had was paying off credit card interest and late fees that accrued during their 35 days without a paycheck. While the government is providing back pay it isn’t compensating workers for fees incurred during while their paychecks were withheld.
The bill would provide compensation to federal employees and contractors to cover the fees, interest, and fines incurred during a shutdown by setting up a reimbursement verification mechanism with the Department of Treasury; provide reimbursements to tribal communities who have used state budget funds to cover federal programs within 90 days after a shutdown; and create a reserve fund for federal employees and contractors who are furloughed during any future shutdown.
In Nevada, an estimated 3,450 federal workers were either furloughed or required to work without a paycheck during the last 35-day government shutdown, which negatively affected communities throughout the state.
In the Reno-Sparks Indian Colony the health center’s two federal employees on staff and the tribes Head Start program were paid out of the tribe’s general fund during the shutdown and the TANF program in Nevada used reserve funding to keep certain services operational during the shutdown.