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Welch at Airport Press Conference: ‘Never Again’ Should Federal Employees Work Without Pay; Outlines Path to End 32-day Partial Government Shutdown

January 22, 2019
Press Release

SOUTH BURLINGTON – Before boarding a flight at Burlington International Airport this morning to return to Washington, Rep. Peter Welch (D-Vt.) unveiled legislation that will put an end to the practice of requiring federal employees to work without pay during the current or any future government shutdown. Welch will introduce his legislation in the House of Representatives later this afternoon.

Last Sunday, Welch met during a shift change at the airport with dozens of TSA agents, air traffic controllers, and National Weather Service employees. The idea behind the legislation came from the employees attending the meeting, all of whom are being required to work without pay during the now 32-day partial government shutdown.

Welch also announced that he is joining several House colleagues today in sending a letter to President Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell proposing a path to ending the stalemate that triggered the ongoing shutdown. Welch and his colleagues are proposing a 3-part plan to reopen shuttered federal departments and agencies. Specifically:

• After reopening the federal government, the House Appropriations Committee would begin debate on the Administration’s request for $5.7 billion in new border security funding. The Department of Homeland Security will be given the opportunity in a public hearing to fully flesh out the details of how the requested funding would be spent and the results it could be expected to achieve;

            • The bill would be guaranteed a vote on the House floor by the end of February.

• Members of the House would be permitted to offer amendments to the bill, including those related to the status of Dreamers and those with Temporary Protected Status.

“It defies common sense and anyone’s definition of fairness to require federal employees to work without pay,” Welch said. “Never again should federal employees be caught in the middle of a budget standoff in Washington. This bill would immediately resume paychecks for hundreds of thousands of federal employees, including TSA agents, air traffic controllers, Coast Guard, National Weather Service, and CBP and ICE agents and officers.”

Regarding the letter he will sign today proposing a path to end the partial government shutdown, Welch said, “This shutdown must end. Federal employees and their families are in serious financial jeopardy. The American people are being denied essential government services. This proposal will re-open the government immediately and allow every Member of Congress the opportunity to vote up or down on border security funding and methods as well as protections for Dreamers and migrants with Temporary Protected Status. Congress needs to get back to legislating through an open, transparent and accountable process. It’s time to reopen the government. It’s time to vote.”

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