Menendez Cosponsors Bill to Help Low-Wage Federal Contractors Losing Pay under Trump Shutdown

Menendez Cosponsors Bill to Help Low-Wage Federal Contractors Losing Pay under Trump Shutdown

Legislation would ensure janitorial, food, security & other workers who are furloughed or lost hours get paid Day 27: Trump Shutdown longest in U.S. history


WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Bob Menendez joined nearly two dozen Senate colleagues in introducing legislation that would secure back pay for federal contractor employees who continue to go without pay during the Trump Shutdown—now into its 27th day.  The Fair Compensation for Low-Wage Contractor Employees Act aims to help low-wage federal contractor employees—including janitorial, food, and security services workers—who have been furloughed or forced to accept reduced work hours as a result of the government shutdown.

“Congress has already passed legislation to help the hundreds of thousands of federal workers who are not getting paid under the shutdown, but they aren’t the only ones suffering at the hands of President Trump and Senate Republicans who refuse to reopen the government.  We need to step up and help the countless federal contractor employees who are also being hurt through no fault of their own,” said Sen. Menendez.  “The American people did not sign up for this.  They are being held hostage by a President and his GOP enablers in Congress who care more about fulfilling an absurd campaign promise than our families and neighbors who are struggling to put food on the table or keep a roof over their heads.  It is appalling.  This shutdown must end—now.”

Sen. Menendez recently joined 33 Democratic colleagues in urging the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to direct federal agencies to work with contractors to provide back pay to compensate low- and middle-income contractor employees who generally have not received back pay after past shutdowns.  Federal contractor workers are employed by private companies who do business with the federal government, but not directly by the federal government. 

Sen. Menendez has already secured back pay for 800,000 federal workers, including over 5,000 in New Jersey, who are furloughed or forced to work without pay under the shutdown.  He cosponsored the Government Employee Fair Treatment Act, which passed the Senate last week and was signed into law yesterday.

The Fair Compensation for Low-Wage Contractor Employees Act would:

  • Ensure federal contractors get reimbursed for providing back pay, up to 200% of the federal poverty level for a family of four
  • Provide accountability in the equitable adjustment process by including ways for protection of taxpayer funds
  • Contractors would submit evidence of costs for review and approval by the agency’s contracting officer
  • Contractors are already required to keep records of employee pay practices, so this doesn’t create a new obligation for those contractors
  • Cover employees employed under the Davis-Bacon Act (which governs federally-funded construction projects) and the Service Contract Act (which governs federal service contracts).

The bill is cosponsored by Sens. Menendez, Tina Smith (D-Minn.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), Mark Warner (D-Va.), Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Tim Kaine (D-Va.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.), Doug Jones (D-Ala.), Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), Tom Udall (D-N.M.), Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.), Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.), Angus King (I-Maine), Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii), Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii), Jon Tester (D-Mont.), Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), and Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.).

Sen. Menendez continues to fight to protect federal workers and contractor employees who have been impacted by the shutdown.  He is cosponsor of the bipartisan Pay Our Coast Guard Act to pay members of the Coast Guard, civilian employees and contractors, including the hundreds of servicemembers in New Jersey charged with keeping our waters safe that are currently being forced to work without pay, and has cosponsored the Federal Employee Civil Relief Act to protect federal workers and contractors from foreclosures, evictions and loan defaults as a result of not getting paid during the shutdown and falling behind on their bills.

Sen. Menendez yesterday shared the story of a struggling furloughed New Jerseyan on the Senate Floor yesterday in demanding President Trump and the Senate Republican Majority reopen the government and has repeatedly called for an end to the Trump Shutdown and pressed Majority Leader McConnell to call a vote on House-passed legislation that has already gained bipartisan approvals in the Senate.