More Lawmakers Want Back Pay Plus Interest for the Shutdown

Companion legislation has been introduced in the House to give federal employees back pay plus interest for shutdowns.

More interest has surfaced in Congress recently to give federal employees back pay plus interest for the recent partial government shutdown. Companion legislation has been introduced in the House that would provide impacted federal workers not only back pay, but interest as well.

Like its counterpart bill in the SenateThe Back Pay Fairness Act (H.R. 1051) would provide federal workers back pay with interest matched to the Treasury Prompt Payment policy, the same interest rate federal agencies pay on late payments to vendors and contractors. The prompt payment interest rate for January 1, 2019 – June 30, 2019 is 3.625%. The legislation would apply not just to the recent shutdown but to future shutdowns as well.

The bill is sponsored by Congresswoman Terri Sewell (D-AL) and has three co-sponsors as of the time of this writing.

Sewell said that the bill is necessary because many federal employees incurred additional costs, such as fees from late payments on bills and loans, by going without pay during the recent partial government shutdown.

“The Trump shutdown created significant financial insecurity for federal employees. Not only should the government pay back lost wages, it should work to reverse the real economic pain that will extend well into the future,” Sewell said in a statement. “When taxpayers owe the federal government, interest accrues on late payments. There should be no difference when the federal government owes its hardworking employees.”

The other bill that was introduced in the Senate has yet to advance.

About the Author

Ian Smith is one of the co-founders of He has over 20 years of combined experience in media and government services, having worked at two government contracting firms and an online news and web development company prior to his current role at FedSmith.