Congressman Introduces Bill to Give Federal Workers No-Interest Loans During Govt Shutdown

By Melanie Arter | January 17, 2019 | 8:21 PM EST

Rep. TJ Cox (D-Calif.) (Screenshot)

( - Rep. TJ Cox (D-Calif.) introduces a bill requiring the Treasury to give federal workers zero interest loans of up to $6,000 during the government shutdown.

The bill, Immediate Financial Relief for Federal Employees Act, directs the U.S. Treasury to give zero percent interest loans to government workers affected by the shutdown.

“Our bill, the Immediate Financial Relief for Federal Employees Act, directs the U.S. Treasury to provide 0 interest loans to the 800,000 federal workers who are furloughed or otherwise working without pay during the shutdown. These loans would accrue no interest, would have no fees, would not require a credit check, and the amount credited to the employee would be paid back when the government reopens,” Cox said during a Capitol Hill press conference Thursday surrounded by several Democratic House members.

“These loans would be authorized even in the event of a Treasury shutdown. Now this is not a pie-in-the-sky legislation. This is the logical next step to legislation that’s already been passed. We have already signed into law that these workers are due, and we are obligated to pay them their back wages. This just turns that commitment into cash, into cash that they can use today,” he said.

The congressman noted that Congress passed a bipartisan bill to guarantee back pay to federal workers “who are working without pay due to the furlough.” As previously reported, President Donald Trump signed the bill into law Wednesday night.

Cox noted that this is the first bill he has introduced as a freshman member of Congress, “and it’s safe to say that this is not the first bill that I wanted to introduce.”

He said that “because of the continued shutdown and Mr. McConnell’s refusal to do his job, 800,000 workers are suffering, and they’re going without pay, without an ability to pay their bills, their mortgages, and that is unexcusable.”

“You know we often hear my colleagues and certainly from the other side of the aisle that they wish government would work more like a business. Well here’s their chance. This would provide immediate financial relief to our workers so they can pay their bills right now. They don’t have to go out and get an extension on their mortgage. They don’t have to ask their creditors for any relief. This provides the immediate relief that they need right now,” the congressman said.


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