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Brooks introduces bill requiring timely pay for federal workers during a shutdown

Brandon Moseley

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U.S. Rep. Mo Brooks, R-Huntsville, on Tuesday introduced HR271, the No Work Without Pay Act, a bill that requires the federal government to timely pay all employees who work during a government shutdown.

“During a federal government shutdown, federal employees are treated in two different ways. Roughly 380,000 federal workers are ‘furloughed’ (sent home without pay until the shutdown ends). Roughly 420,000 other federal employees (like TSA agents or border patrol agents) are ordered to work without timely pay or even the guarantee of getting paid,” Congressman Mo Brooks said. “Ordering a federal employee to work without timely pay is morally wrong and runs counter to every economic principle on which a free enterprise system is based. I have today introduced the No Work Without Pay Act to correct this wrong by requiring that federal employees who are ordered to work are timely paid for their work.”

“HR271 is a straight-forward, one-page bill that is the right thing to do for the roughly 420,000 federal employees at nine federal departments and dozens of independent agencies who are currently working without pay,” Rep. Brooks said. “This Friday, working federal employees will miss their paycheck unless Washington elected officials either pass HR271 (or similar legislation) or the partial shutdown ends. I encourage House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to immediately take up HR271 (or similar legislation) so paychecks will go out Friday to federal employees who worked for them during this partial shutdown.”

Defense workers are still getting paid during the shutdown because the defense department’s appropriation has already passed. Hundreds of thousands of NASA, TSA, Coast Guard, border patrol, immigration and customs enforcement agents, etc. are still required to be on the job and are not getting paid. These workers are still having to dress appropriately (in many cases in uniform or business attire), pay for gas or bus fare, personal auto maintenance and repairs, lunch, etc. and they are not getting compensated. It would be very difficult for a private employer to get away with similar conduct towards its employees.

“Frankly, Washington should never have put federal employees in this position,” Rep. Brooks said. “When you consider that illegal aliens are a net tax loss of $116 billion annually and that each year there are thousands of Americans who are dead at the hands of illegal aliens, $5 billion for a border wall is a paltry investment and a significant compromise down from the $25 billion needed to help secure America’s porous southern border. Unfortunately, too many Washington elected officials have made it clear that their thirst for political power is more important than the lives of American citizens. In a similar vein, I hope Democrats will rise to the occasion and treat federal workers better than they have treated American victims of illegal alien criminal conduct.”

This is the 19th day of the partial government shutdown. Pres. Donald J. Trump (R) has steadfastly refused to sign legislation to fund the government unless the Congress appropriates $5.7 billion to build a border wall. Congressional Democrats have refused to appropriate the money. While the new Democratic controlled House has passed funding to open up the government, Senate Republicans are refusing to pass any appropriations bill that the President refuses to sign. If the Congress were to pass funding legislation that the President vetoes; then it is very unlikely that Democrats can get the votes to override President Trump’s veto in either House.

Congressman Mo Brooks represents Alabama’s Fifth Congressional District.

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