CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Senator Stephen Baldwin (D—Greenbrier) on Friday announced that he has submitted a bill that will provide relief for furloughed federal workers. His bill provides a way for the state to work with private banks to guarantee low-interest loans to furloughed federal employees.
“I ran for office to try and help people and solve problems,” said Baldwin. “This is a non-partisan, people-centered, West-Virginians-first solution to an urgent issue that will allow working West Virginians to provide for their families in this unusual circumstance.”
The bill, which is called the Immediate Financial Relief for Federal Employees Act, will guarantee any loans issued by a private bank at a low interest rate to furloughed federal employees. Employees are guaranteed back pay once the government reopens.
“People’s livelihoods should not be pawns in political chess,” said Baldwin. “These folks are about to miss another paycheck, and if we can find a way to help, we should do it.”
West Virginia is the seventh-most affected state by the federal shutdown, with all sectors of the economy and areas of the state affected. West Virginians are employed by the FBI Criminal Justice Information Services Division (2,500 workers in North Central West Virginia; the Bureau of Fiscal Service, Department of Treasury (2,200 workers in Parkersburg); the Bureau of Prisons, Department of Justice (1,000 workers around state); the Coast Guard, Department of Homeland Security (400 workers in Falling Waters and Martinsburg); Customs & Border Patrol Advanced Training Center, Department of Homeland Security; Independent Verification & Validation Center (IV&V), NASA (200 workers in Fairmont); Green Bank Observatory, National Science Foundation (Pocahontas County); the Federal Aviation Administration, Department of Transportation (120 workers around the state); federal courts and national parks and forests.