WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) continued his calls to open the government. This afternoon, the Senate held a vote to open the government on a short-term basis so workers can begin receiving paychecks again and lawmakers could have time to negotiate a border security compromise. Republican lawmakers blocked that vote and declined to reopen the government. Senator Brown said President Trump and Majority Leader Mitch McConnell have the power to end this shutdown and the suffering it has caused right now.
“A bill to reopen the government was put on the Senate Floor today, and Leader McConnell and Senate Republicans refused to do their jobs and end this shutdown,” said Brown. “I’m calling on Mitch McConnell, Donald Trump, and my Republican colleagues to listen to the hardworking Americans who are suffering under this unnecessary and avoidable shutdown. Talk to the workers and military members and small business owners who you’re hurting. Reopen the government and do it today.”
Before the holidays, the Senate unanimously passed a clean funding measure, which Brown supported. The White House indicated it would support that short-term spending measure to fund the government before President Trump abruptly changed course and shut down the government. The House passed a similar measure to fund the government and reopen the government with bipartisan support.
Brown has also introduced bills and written to federal agencies to help the workers this unnecessary and avoidable shutdown is hurting:
- Last week, Brown introduced legislation to secure back pay for the federal contractor employees who continue to go without pay during the current government shutdown. His Fair Compensation for Low-Wage Contractor Employees Act aims to help low-wage federal contractor employees—including janitorial, food, and security services workers—who have been furloughed or forced to accept reduced work hours as a result of the government shutdown.
- Brown has been fighting to secure back pay for these federal contract workers, who make too little to begin with and are paid hourly. Because they are unable to clock hours, these workers often do not receive back pay and are typically unable to recoup lost hours and wages during a shutdown.
- Brown also wrote to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), urging the Administration to direct federal agencies to work with contractors to provide back pay to compensate low- and middle-income contractor employees for the wages they have lost during the shutdown.
- Earlier this month, Brown joined a group of Senators to introduce the Federal Employee Civil Relief Act. This legislation would protect federal workers and their families from foreclosures, evictions, and loan defaults during a government shutdown.
- 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. 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.
Earlier this month, Brown met with TSA and food service workers who are either being forced to work without pay or are currently furloughed and not receiving a paycheck. Brown has also shared the stories of hardworking Americans who are suffering to call attention to the pain President Trump’s temper tantrum is causing.