WASHINGTON — Maryland and Virginia’s Democratic Senators have joined forces in crafting a bill they hope will bring back pay to federal contractors that are impacted by the partial government shutdown.
“We’ve not in past shutdowns been able to figure out a way to provide back pay for contractors,” said U.S. Senator Mark Warner, a Democrat from Virginia.
Warner said he hopes that this time around things will turn out differently, with the new bill and “that we don’t leave, particularly for our National Capital Region, a whole lot of contractors out in the cold,” Warner said.
The partial government shutdown has been in effect since Dec. 22 following a funding stalemate between Democrats in Congress and President Donald Trump’s insistence on $5 billion for a wall along the U.S. border with Mexico. Several hundred thousand employees have been furloughed and several hundred thousand more are working through the shutdown without pay. While Congress will likely issue back pay for all federal employees after the shutdown lifts — as they have done in previous shutdowns — whether contractors get paid or not is up to their individual companies.
Joining Warner in crafting the bill is Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine, as well as Maryland’s two senators Chris Van Hollen and Ben Cardin, both Democrats.
Warner said the details of the bill are still being worked out. Factoring in income cutoffs and possibly gearing help toward small businesses are among the discussions when it comes to who will be helped.
“There has been broad bipartisan support about reimbursing all federal employees, since we’re trying to get into a new area here we want to try to make sure we’ve figured out the best way,” Warner said.
Warner said his hope is that details of the bill can be figured out soon so the legislation can be introduced this week.