Dems offer bill to provide loans to federal employees affected by shutdown

Dems offer bill to provide loans to federal employees affected by shutdown
© Stefani Reynolds

A group of House Democrats on Thursday rolled out legislation that would require the Treasury Department to provide loans to federal employees hurt by the government shutdown.

"This would provide immediate financial relief for our workers so they can pay their bills right now," freshman Rep. TJ Cox (D-Calif.), who authored the bill, said at a press conference Thursday.

The partial government shutdown has lasted for nearly one month, and it looks unlikely to end in the immediate future. Democrats have been drawing attention to the employees who have been furloughed or are working without pay as they pressure Republicans and President TrumpDonald John TrumpCNN's Camerota clashes with Trump's immigration head over president's tweet LA Times editorial board labels Trump 'Bigot-in-Chief' Trump complains of 'fake polls' after surveys show him trailing multiple Democratic candidates MORE to enact legislation to reopen the government.

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Under the bill, federal employees impacted by the current shutdown and any future funding lapses would be able to receive interest-free loans from Treasury of up to $6,000 if they request them. The loans would be repaid by automatically deducting money from employee's paychecks once the government reopens.

The bill would authorize Treasury to make the loans even if the department is otherwise not funded during a shutdown, as is the case currently.

President Trump signed legislation on Wednesday that would provide back pay to federal workers, but they only get the money when the government reopens. 

Cox said he sees his bill as the "logical next step" to the law Trump signed. The bill is co-sponsored by dozens of House Democrats, including many freshmen.

Shortly after the Democrats unveiled their bill, the House on Thursday rejected a GOP effort to pay furloughed workers but keep the government closed. A Democratic aide called the Republican measure a political stunt.