As the partial government shutdown gets set to enter its second month, Livingston County’s voice in Congress is supporting legislation to help affected workers.

Congresswoman Elissa Slotkin announced today that she was co-sponsoring the newly-introduced “Shutdown Relief Act,” a bill that would allow federal workers impacted by the government shutdown to withdraw money from their retirement plans without penalty. “As a former federal employee myself for 14 years, I’m proud to sign on as an original co-sponsor of the bipartisan Shutdown Relief Act, which would ease the burden on public servants who work every day to put country over party, and through no fault of their own are struggling to make ends meet during the shutdown.”

Slotkin said that just last week she spoke with an aviation safety specialist on furlough in Livingston County who expressed the need for federal workers to borrow from their Thrift Saving Plans without penalty during this time of financial hardship and that while she was focused on hammering out a deal to re-open the government, she was, “proud to support a bill that gets rid of that penalty and provides some needed relief.” Under current law, federal workers under 59 ½ years old may only withdraw funds from their 401(k) retirement savings plan – known as the Thrift Savings Plan (TSP) – by taking out a loan or by demonstrating that they are suffering from a financial hardship. Additionally, if such employees choose to take a hardship, there is a 10 percent penalty for early withdrawal.

The Shutdown Relief Act would amend the United States Code to allow such federal workers to withdraw money from their TSPs up to the amount of their missed shutdown pay without penalty, as long as the funds are returned within 180 days. The bill, introduced by Rep. Elaine Luria (VA-02), is supported by original co-sponsors Rep. Elissa Slotkin (MI-8), Rep. Anthony Brown (MD-4), Rep. Morgan Griffith (VA-9), Rep. Chrissy Houlahan (PA-6), Rep. Walter B. Jones Jr. (NC-3), Rep. Donald McEachin (VA-4), Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger (MD-2), Rep. Bobby Scott (VA-3), Rep. Terri Sewell (AL-7), Rep. Mikie Sherrill (NJ-11), and Rep. Abigail Spanberger (VA-7.)

In response to the government shutdown, Rep. Slotkin has advocated for bipartisan negotiations on border security to re-open the government, spoken directly with constituents affected by the shutdown, met with federal workers at Detroit Metro Airport, co-sponsored a bill to fund the U.S. Coast Guard during the shutdown, sent a letter to Secretary DeVos asking she provide relief for federal workers struggling to pay student loans, and announced she will refuse pay during the government shutdown.