Norton Says Her Budget Provision Will Ensure D.C. Stays Open if Federal Government Shuts Down
Introduces Bill to Grant Back Pay to Furloughed Federally Contracted Low-Wage Workers
WASHINGTON, D.C.—As the possibility of a federal government shutdown looms large, Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) today assured District of Columbia residents that a provision she got included in the fiscal year 2018 omnibus appropriations bill will keep the D.C. government open if the federal government partially shuts down this Saturday, when the current short-term continuing resolution expires. The Norton provision allows D.C. to spend under its local fiscal year 2019 budget during a federal government shutdown in fiscal year 2019 (subject to the terms and conditions of the fiscal year 2018 omnibus). D.C. has been spending under its local fiscal year 2019 budget during the course of the two short-term continuing resolutions since October 1, and would continue to do so during a federal government shutdown. Norton has gotten the D.C. shutdown exemption included in each spending bill since the federal government shutdown of 2013. Before she got the shutdown exemption for D.C. included in D.C. appropriations bills, the District had to prepare shutdown contingency plans every time there was the threat of a federal government shutdown, even if it did not occur. Consistent threats of shutdowns harmed the credit rating of the District government. In upgrading their ratings on the District’s outstanding general obligation bonds, Standard & Poor’s Rating Services and Fitch Ratings both have favorably cited Norton’s shutdown exemption provision.
Norton today also introduced a bill that would guarantee back pay to federally-contracted retail, food, custodial and security service workers furloughed during a shutdown in the current fiscal year (fiscal year 2019). Norton introduced a similar bill last January to guarantee back pay to federally-contracted low-wage workers in fiscal year 2018 when a shutdown was threatened. Norton is also an original cosponsor of a bill to provide back pay to federal employees who are furloughed during a shutdown.
“Although Trump and the Republicans are moving quickly toward partially shutting down the federal government for Trump’s border wall, the District’s government will remain open and able to spend at next year’s budget levels,” Norton said. “Congress could learn a thing about fiscal responsibility by taking a look at D.C., which has a balanced budget and a surplus.
“As we prepare for the Trump shutdown, low-wage federal contract workers are at particular risk of being denied pay, through no fault of their own. Low-wage contract workers deserve the same back pay given to federal employees after a shutdown, as both federal employees and contract workers often work alongside one another. Both groups of workers deserve to be made whole after any shutdown.”