Washington D.C. – Federal employees who go without paychecks during a government shutdown would have their credit scores protected under legislation endorsed by the National Treasury Employees Union.
NTEU National President Tony Reardon announced the union’s support for the bill in a letter today to House Financial Services Chair Maxine Waters, the lead sponsor of the Protecting Innocent Consumers Affected by a Shutdown Act.
The proposal, H.R. 4328, would prevent credit reporting agencies from including any adverse financial information on the credit reports of federal employees who are not paid because of a shutdown. It would exclude from the credit reports any harmful information that occurs during a shutdown, plus the 90 days immediately following.
“This is a very fair response to the unfair situation our members would suffer in a shutdown,” Reardon wrote in his letter.
During the record 35-day partial shutdown of 2018-19, some 800,000 federal employees missed two paychecks, which led to late mortgage and car payments, higher credit card debt and other financial distress. Some were on unpaid furloughs and others were forced to work without pay.
“Any situation they suffered which resulted in negative information on their credit ratings was through no fault of their own and not indicative of their intention to pay their bills on time,” Reardon wrote.
The legislation is scheduled to be considered by the full committee Wednesday. Other cosponsors include Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-NY), Rep. Brad Sherman (D-CA), Rep. Jennifer Wexton (D-VA) and Rep. Jesús “Chuy” Garcia (D-IL).
NTEU represents 150,000 employees at 33 federal agencies and departments.