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Rep. Ben Ray Luján (D-N.M.) spoke Saturday on the House floor in support of H.R. 3223, legislation that ensures furloughed federal employees retroactively receive their pay.
During his remarks, Luján highlighted that it is the intent of Congress to also support contract employees at the national laboratories.
In addition, he submitted into the Congressional Record a letter he is sending Department of Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz to emphasize that fact.
“This bill ensures that furloughed employees will be made whole. It is also important for contract employees who work at our national labs.
“It is clear that Congress intends to insulate those workers who provide vital services to our nation from the effects of the shutdown. In the past, DOE has sought to treat lab employees the same as federal employees. This legislation sets the precedent for how those employees will be treated.
“We are sending the message that DOE should certify back pay for lab employees as an allowable cost, so they will be made whole if they are furloughed.”
In the letter to Moniz, Lujan expressed how important the labs were to the nation’s security.
“Their workforce is comprised of many of the smartest scientists, engineers, and researchers in our country, all of whom have devoted their careers to serving and protecting our nation,” he wrote.
“This government shut down risks betraying these men and women.
“ While lab employees work for the contractors who manage the labs, they are subject to much of the same uncertainty as their colleagues in the federal workforce.