AUGUSTA—On Tuesday, Senate President Troy Jackson, D-Allagash, filed after-deadline legislation to provide temporary relief to federal workers affected by the federal government shutdown. The bill would provide a state guarantee on loans from banks and credit unions to federal government employees living in Maine, who have been furloughed without pay or who have been required to work without pay during the longest shutdown in this country’s history.
“Despite the manufactured chaos in Washington, federal workers still have homes to heat, kids to feed and bills to pay. They cannot afford to go to work without pay or sit idly by, nor should they have to,” said President Jackson. “This bill won’t fix a broken Washington, but I’m hopeful it will provide some much-needed relief to federal workers living in Maine, who are struggling to get by.”
The bill would alleviate pressure on federal employees by allowing the state to guarantee interest-free loans in an amount of one month’s net pay, up to $5,000 per employee. The goal is to help keep families afloat and bills paid during this time of economic uncertainty. Jackson’s bill models similar legislation introduced in Connecticut. Final language for the proposal is still being drafted.
“Federal workers should not be used as political pawns during this long and unnecessary shutdown,” said President Jackson. “It’s unconscionable that we have to resort to this type of legislation but I cannot sit around and wait for the federal government to do its job while Mainers are suffering.”
Bills submitted for consideration after deadline must be approved by a majority of the 10-member Legislative Council, which is comprised of legislative leadership in both the House and Senate. Legislative Council is scheduled to meet Thursday, Jan. 24 at 1:30 p.m.