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Lawmakers fighting for those impacted by recent government shutdown

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Congress renewing the call to pay federal contract workers who were unpaid during the government shutdown.
While government employees got back pay, the lowest wage contract workers like food service and janitorial employees did not.  

A number of Democratic lawmakers want their colleagues to take action to compensate the folks who are still struggling to make ends meet after the shutdown.

The record long government shutdown created a hardship for 71-year-old Lila Johnson.

“Two months without any money coming in, except my retirement and my social security, so it was very very hard on me,” said Johnson.

Johnson is a janitor for the Department of Agriculture. 

She says she’s still catching up on payments for her bills and loans following the shutdown. She’s one of many federal contract workers who hasn’t received any back pay from the government. 

“I need the extra money to make ends meet for my family,” said Johnson.

Sam Berger with the Center for American Progress says shutdowns are wrong and hopes to avoid another one.

“While the political world has moved on, the folks on the ground that are really living this stuff trying to actually do the work. This is very real for them still,” said Berger.  

Democratic lawmakers say they plan to fight to make sure contract workers who were not paid during the shutdown get the compensation they earned.

Maryland Democrat Senator Ben Cardin says the contractors need to be taken care of. 

“They weren’t paid through no fault of their own, so we’re looking at ways that we could adjust the contract with the private company so that these low wage workers can be compensated,” said Senator Cardin.

There are bipartisan bills in Congress that would provide back pay for the workers. 

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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For this Beetdigger and Ute it’s an honor to be doing what he loves in his home state! Glen is an award-winning journalist, who joined the ABC4 Utah team in June 2013. You can catch him anchoring ABC4 Utah News at 4 Monday through Friday. He also serves as our Senior Political Correspondent, keeping you up to date on issues that impact your life at the city, state and national level. His political reports run throughout the week, and he hosts Inside Utah Politics, Sunday mornings at 8. The Utah Headliners Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists has recognized Glen as the best government and military television reporter in the state. Before returning home to Utah, he spent 11 1/2 years developing his journalism skills in other states. He held various on-air and management positions at KPVI in Pocatello, Idaho, WGBA in Green Bay, Wisconsin and KKCO in Grand Junction, Colorado during that time.. Read More...

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