Forty-eight House members submitted a bipartisan letter to Chairwoman Nita Lowey, D-N.Y., and Ranking Member Kay Granger, R-Texas, of the House Appropriations Committee yesterday to include back pay for Federal contractor employees in the upcoming funding legislation.

Reps. Gerry Connolly, D-Va., Elijah Cummings, D-Md., Eleanor Holmes Norton, D-DC, and Ayanna Pressley, D-Mass., led the effort to send the letter, which argues that Federal contractors should not be penalized for the 35-day partial government shutdown earlier this year.

“As a result of the nearly five-week shutdown, Federal contractor employees lost more than a month’s pay and missed several paychecks,” the letter states. “While Federal employees received back pay at the end of the shutdown, Federal contractors did not.”

It is especially pertinent to compensate these workers, the representatives argued, because they often occupy low-wage jobs, and missing a paycheck is critical for those individuals. The shutdown, the letter explains, left contractors struggling or unable to pay rent, mortgages, or other household bills, and that some have turned to foodbanks to meet household needs.

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