The House Financial Services Committee approved legislation last week that would prohibit federal employee credit scores from being negatively affected by financial difficulties due to a government shutdown.
The Protecting Innocent Consumers Affected by a Shutdown Act (H.R. 4328), a bill by Representative Maxine Waters (D-CA), “restricts credit furnishers and the consumer credit reporting agencies from including adverse financial information resulting from a government shutdown in the credit profiles of federal government workers, contractors and others affected by the shutdown for the duration of a shutdown plus 90 days.”
“The shutdown directly affected nearly 3 percent of the entire U.S. labor force. The Congressional Budget Office estimated that the shutdown cost the American economy $11 billion and delayed approximately $18 billion in discretionary spending for compensation and purchases of goods and services,” said Waters.
NTEU Supports Legislation
“This is a very fair response to the unfair situation our members would suffer in a shutdown,” said National Treasury Employees Union (NTEU) National President, Tony Reardon in a Sept. 18 letter to Rep. Waters.
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 passed out of the committee on a 32-22 party line vote. 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).
The full text of the bill can be found here.