Rep. TJ Cox has submitted his first bill to Congress, one he said would require the U.S. Department of the Treasury to offer no-interest loans of up to $6,000 to federal workers currently not being paid due to the partial government shutdown.
Cox, the Valley’s newest congressman, was flanked by fellow Fresno Democrat Jim Costa and several other colleagues as he held a news conference in Washington, D.C., Thursday morning.
“This is a commonsense piece of legislation that would provide immediate relief to the hundreds of thousands of federal employees who are suffering from this unnecessary shutdown,” Cox said.
The Immediate Financial Relief for Federal Employees Act, cosponsored by Costa and 83 other House Democrats, would offer the loans at no cost or interest, and would not require a credit check. The loan amount would be automatically deducted from future paychecks once the government reopens.
Cox’s new law would also apply to future government shutdowns.
House Republicans responded by accusing Cox and other California Democrats of grandstanding during the shutdown.
Democrats rejected a Republican attempt to amend their latest appropriations bill aimed at reopening the government, which subsequently passed. The National Republican Congressional Committee said the Republican measure would have paid furloughed workers but kept the government closed.
Both sides in the Democrat-controlled House and Republican-controlled Senate have jostled for nearly a month, setting clear battle lines on the issue of a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.
The shutdown began on Dec. 22 and is already the longest in history.