WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Representatives Abigail Spanberger (D-VA-7) and Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA-1) today introduced bipartisan legislation to make sure military personnel and law enforcement receive their salaries in the event of a lapse in funding or budget impasse, such as the ongoing partial government shutdown.
The bipartisan Strengthening Homeland Security, Intelligence, and Essential Law Enforcement Departments (SHIELD) Act would protect compensation for service members and federal law enforcement personnel in the event of a funding interruption, a government shutdown, or reaching the debt ceiling. The bill would authorize the U.S. Department of the Treasury to distribute pay and allowances to these critical public servants and their families.
“As a former federal law enforcement agent, I understand the dangerous challenges these brave public servants face as they keep our communities strong and safe. And it’s simply unacceptable that thousands of law enforcement officers are not receiving their hard-earned salaries during a shutdown, even when they continue working at all hours to protect and serve our country,” said Spanberger. “Today, I’m proud to stand alongside Congressman Fitzpatrick to introduce this bipartisan bill, which would make sure law enforcement employees and service members are prioritized in cases of budget stalemates or lapses. Our national security and the safety of American families should never be put at risk due to our government’s inability to responsibly manage its finances, and those who put their lives on the line in the service of their fellow citizens should not be denied their paychecks.”
“Each and every day, our nation’s military and federal law enforcement officials sacrifice for our safety,” said Fitzpatrick. “Even with their paychecks threatened due to the current government shutdown, members of the U.S. Coast Guard and critical law enforcement continue to honorably report to work. These federal employees are essential to American national security, and their lack of timely compensation is unacceptable. I’m proud to support the SHIELD Act and stand in solidarity with those who keep us safe, and I urge House leadership to immediately consider its passage.”
Spanberger and Fitzpatrick’s legislation is endorsed by the Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association.
“Right now, nearly all of our more than 27,000 members are experiencing firsthand the challenges that government shutdowns pose to our nation’s federal law enforcement officers—both operationally and financially,” said Nate Catura, President of the Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association. “Even in the face of the very real concerns about the impact of any shutdown, we are still bound each and every day to do our best to preserve law, order, and public safety. By prioritizing funding to ensure our safety and security, the SHIELD Act recognizes that we can never shut down our core national defense, homeland security, and law enforcement functions.”
Since December 22, 2018, more than 450,000 federal employees have worked without pay, including more than 41,000 federal law enforcement and correctional officers and up to 88 percent of all Department of Homeland Security employees. Additionally, more than 380,000 federal employees have been furloughed during the government shutdown, including more than 80 percent of National Park Service employees.
On her first day in office, Spanberger helped introduce two bills that would make sure federal workers receive backpay once the ongoing government shutdown ends and that Members of Congress would not receive their regular salaries during a shutdown. To assist federal employees and their families negatively impacted by the shutdown, Spanberger helped introduce bipartisan legislation—led by U.S Representative Don Beyer (D-VA-8)—that would retroactively pay federal employees that have gone without pay during the shutdown. Additionally, she helped introduce a bill—led by U.S. Representative Kurt Schrader (D-OR-5)—that would reduce the pay of Members of Congress if a shutdown occurs.
And earlier last week, then-Rep.-Elect Spanberger sent a letter requesting that her Congressional salary be withheld until the government fully reopens and all federal employee pay is restored. Click here to read her full letter.