After Delay from Administration, Bustos Demands Back Pay for Workers Impacted by Shutdown

In Letter to Office of Personnel Management, Bustos Demands Answers and Action for Federal Workers Impacted by Government Shutdown

WASHINGTON – Today, in a letter to the Office of Personnel Management, Congresswoman Cheri Bustos (IL-17) demanded back pay for some workers who still have not received their paychecks due to the previous government shutdown. Congresswoman Bustos has spoken out strongly against using shutdowns as a negotiating tactic – and voted dozens of times to pay workers, end the shutdown and open the government. Now, she is leading the charge to ensure that all workers who missed paychecks and worked without pay are compensated appropriately and in a timely manner.

“Government shutdowns should never be used as a negotiating tool – not now, not ever – because hardworking families deserve and expect more from their elected officials,” Congresswoman Bustos said. “During the course of the last reckless shutdown, I visited with workers at our airports and federal prisons and their message was clear – we cannot play politics with their financial security and wellbeing. It’s both concerning and frustrating that after shutting down the government for 35 days, the administration has not yet issued back pay to some who missed paychecks or worked without pay. Families who missed paychecks cannot afford to wait any longer and I urge the administration to act quickly to give our workers the pay they rightfully earned.”

Text of the letter can be found HERE or below:

Dear Acting Director Weichert,

On January 25, 2019, President Trump and the United States Congress reached an agreement to end the thirty-five-day partial government shutdown and fund impacted government agencies through February 15, 2019. Additionally, on January 11, 2019, President Trump signed into law the Government Employee Fair Treatment Act of 2019 which requires back pay to federal workers affected by this shutdown at the earliest date possible. Even so, according to the American Federation of Government Employees, some of the 800,000 federal workers who were locked out of their jobs or working without pay have not received back payment for compensation withheld during the shutdown.

As such, I write to request the expedited and urgent disbursement of back payment to these crucial federal employees. Additionally, I request a response to the following questions:

  1. For each affected federal agency, how many employees have not received back payment for compensation withheld during the partial shutdown?
  2. For each affected federal agency, by what date will affected federal employees receive back payment for compensation withheld during the partial shutdown?

Throughout the thirty-five-day partial government shutdown and beyond, the lives of federal workers across the country have been uprooted. They have been forced to make hard choices to pay their rent, afford their medication, or even buy groceries. With funding for many federal agencies set to expire on February 15, 2019—and another partial government shutdown on the horizon affecting these same employees—it is crucial that we provide them timely financial relief.

Members of the Coast Guard, FBI agents, border patrol officers, airport security officials, and others shouldn’t have to wonder if they can make next month’s rent – they deserve better from Washington. The livelihoods of Illinois employees like prison guards in Pekin and Thompson, researchers at the National Center for Agricultural Utilization Research in Peoria, and airport employees in Moline, Peoria, and Rockford should not be beholden to political spats in our nation’s capital.

I look forward to working with you to ensure the expedited disbursement of back payment to affected federal employees. Additionally, I look forward to your timely response to the questions above. Thank you for your consideration and response to this important matter.


Cheri Bustos

Member of Congress