Fitzpatrick, Spanberger Introduce SHIELD ACT

Measure protects Coast Guard, law enforcement during shutdown

January 11, 2019

Washington, DC—Congressman Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA) and Congresswoman Abigail Spanberger (D-VA) introduced today the Strengthening Homeland Security, Intelligence, and Essential Law Enforcement Departments (SHIELD) Act, which would prioritize pay for military personnel and law enforcement in the event of a budget impasse or lapse in appropriations.

“Each and every day, our nation’s military and federal law enforcement officials sacrifice for our safety,” said Fitzpatrick. “Even with their paychecks threatened due to the current government shutdown, members of the U.S. Coast Guard and critical law enforcement continue to honorably report to work. These federal employees are essential to American national security, and their lack of timely compensation is unacceptable. I’m proud to support the SHIELD Act and stand in solidarity with those who keep us safe, and I urge House leadership to immediately consider its passage.”

“As a former federal law enforcement agent, I understand the dangerous challenges these brave public servants face as they keep our communities strong and safe. And it’s simply unacceptable that thousands of law enforcement officers are not receiving their hard-earned salaries during a shutdown, even when they continue working at all hours to protect and serve our country,” said Spanberger. “Today, I’m proud to stand alongside Congressman Fitzpatrick to introduce this bipartisan bill, which would make sure law enforcement and Coast Guard employees are prioritized in cases of budget stalemates or lapses. Our national security and the safety of American families should never be put at risk due to our government’s inability to responsibly manage its finances, and those who put their lives on the line in the service of their fellow citizens should not be denied their paychecks.”

The bipartisan legislation would ensure compensation for service members and federal law enforcement personnel in the event of an interruption of Congressionally-appropriated funds, during periods of a government shutdown or in the event of reaching the debt ceiling by authorizing the Treasury to apportion pay and allowances.

The bill is endorsed by the Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association (FLEOA).

“Right now, nearly all of our more than 27,000 members are experiencing firsthand the challenges that government shutdowns pose to our nation’s federal law enforcement officers—both operationally and financially,” said President Nate Catura of the Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association.  “Even in the face of the very real concerns about the impact of any shutdown, we are still bound each and every day to do our best to preserve law, order, and public safety.  By prioritizing funding to ensure our safety and security, the SHIELD Act recognizes that we can never shut down our core national defense, homeland security, and law enforcement functions.”