House Dems renew push for government contractor back pay

House Dems renew push for government contractor back pay
© Greg Nash
Dozens of House lawmakers this week renewed calls to provide back pay for low-wage government contractors who were furloughed during the 35-day partial shutdown earlier this year. 
 
Forty-eight lawmakers, almost all Democrats, sent a letter to House Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Nita LoweyNita Sue LoweyDemocrats advance more spending bills, defying Trump budget requests Congress reaches deal on disaster aid Chances for disaster aid deal slip amid immigration fight MORE (D-N.Y.) and ranking member Kay GrangerNorvell (Kay) Kay GrangerDemocrats advance more spending bills, defying Trump budget requests Chances for disaster aid deal slip amid immigration fight Overnight Defense: Trump officials say efforts to deter Iran are working | Trump taps new Air Force secretary | House panel passes defense bill that limits border wall funds MORE (R-Texas) calling on them to support legislation that would provide back pay for low-wage service contractors, such as cleaning and maintenance staff and security guards.
 
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“There are bipartisan bills in both the Senate and House of Representatives that would provide back pay to compensate federal contractor employees for their lost wages,” the lawmakers wrote. “As supporters of these efforts, we strongly urge you to include back pay for federal contractor employees in any supplemental appropriations bill for fiscal year (FY)2019 or as part of the regular appropriations process for FY2020.”
 
A spokesman for Lowey said chairwoman is in favor of the bills, but they do not fall under the purview of the Appropriations Committee.
 
“Chairwoman Lowey supports legislation to provide back pay for federal contractors, a bill which is in the jurisdiction of the Committee on Oversight and Reform. She looks forward to working with Chairman Cummings to overcome Republican opposition and do right by federal contractors who lost wages because of the Trump Shutdown,” the spokesman said, referring to Oversight Chairman Elijah CummingsElijah Eugene CummingsNancy Pelosi fends off impeachment wave — for now House Democrats, Trump lawyers ask appeals court to expedite subpoena case Lawmakers call for 'time out' on facial recognition tech MORE (D-Md.).
 
Cummings was among the lawmakers who signed the letter.
 
Unlike federal employees, who were compensated for their missed work after the record-long shutdown ended, contracting companies that didn't provide services during the shutdown were not compensated, leaving a 35-day hole in the paychecks of thousands of low-wage contractors.
 
Proponents of back pay for contractors failed in their earlier attempts to include a provision in the spending legislation that ended the shutdown.
 
Updated at 3:34 p.m.