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. 

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