After a push from senators, 48 House members urged the House Appropriations Committee to include back pay for federal contractors in funding legislation.
Congressional appropriators are under pressure from more than 80 lawmakers in both houses to provide back pay to federal contractors financially harmed during the 35-day government shutdown.
The latest push to include federal contractor back pay in upcoming funding legislation came in a bipartisan letter from 48 House members to the House Appropriations Committee Thursday.
“As a result of the nearly five week shutdown, federal contractor employees lost more than a month’s pay and missed several paychecks,” the letter states. “While federal employees received back pay at the end of the shutdown, federal contractors did not.”
The letter, led by Reps. Gerry Connolly, D-Va., Elijah Cummings, D-Md., Eleanor Holmes Norton, D-D.C., Donald Norcross, D-N.J., and Ayanna Pressley, D-Mass., follows a similar campaign from 38 Senate lawmakers March 13.
Both bipartisan letters described the critical role contractors play carrying out government operations and urged appropriators to include back pay in either a supplemental appropriations bill for fiscal 2019 or as part of the regular appropriations process for fiscal 2020.
While President Trump signed a bill in January guaranteeing hundreds of thousands of furloughed federal employees back compensation, lawmakers' attempts to attach contractor back pay to existing legislation or make it contingent upon the government’s reopening failed.
The 35-day partial government shutdown led to tens of thousands of layoffs for government contractors when agencies affected halted work on programs or canceled contracts. Data from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce suggested the shutdown impacted 41,000 small business in all 50 states, and cost small government contractors some $2.3 billion in revenue.