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Udall Leads Push To Ensure Homeland Security Employees Are Paid Despite Potential GOP Shutdown

on February 25, 2015 - 12:06pm


  • More than 2,300 DHS employees in New Mexico could be hurt by shutdown

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Sen. Tom Udall announced that he has joined several of his Democratic colleagues in introducing legislation that would ensure Department of Homeland Security (DHS) employees are paid if congressional Republicans refuse to fund DHS by the end of this week.

Out of anger at President Obama's immigration policies, Republicans have proposed legislation with harsh anti-immigrant penalties and threatened to block DHS funding — including programs that are critical for New Mexico — if their proposals are not passed into law. 

Most of New Mexico’s more than 2,300 DHS employees — including 1,780 Customs and Border Protection workers — would be forced to work without pay in the event of a shutdown because of their national security responsibilities. Udall’s legislation — the Federal Employee Retroactive Pay Fairness Act of 2015 — would ensure that these employees, along with other DHS workers such as those at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center in Artesia who would be prohibited from working, get paid in the event of a shutdown.

"I've heard from many hardworking DHS employees in New Mexico who say they can't afford to go without pay for weeks while Republicans hold DHS funding hostage to protest immigration policy," Udall said. "If DHS shuts down because of these partisan games, workers who stay on the job to keep us safe deserve to be paid. Our bill makes sure DHS employees can continue to support their families despite a Republican shutdown."

In December, Congress passed a $1.014 trillion funding package that avoided a full government shutdown but left DHS and its more than 240,000 federal employees in limbo with only partial-year funding that expires this Friday, Feb. 27. The Federal Employee Retroactive Pay Fairness Act of 2015 is similar to language passed into law during or following previous government shutdowns.