Speaking at the Federal Managers Association’s 75th National Convention, Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) today reaffirmed her intention to donate one day’s pay for each day federal employees are furloughed due to sequestration. Norton plans to divide the donation evenly between supporting federal employees in need via the Federal Employee Education & Assistance Fund (FEEA) and ensuring District residents do not experience a drop in constituent services by preventing furloughs of her own staff.
Norton first announced her plan last week while speaking at the National Treasury Employees Union’s 2013 Legislative Conference. NTEU President and FEEA Board member Colleen M. Kelley greeted the announcement with appreciation saying, “This is a remarkable gesture from a member of Congress who truly understands the value of the federal workforce and the economic pain that employees would experience from losing pay while furloughed.”
With sequestration now in effect, FEEA is bracing for an avalanche of requests about furlough assistance for federal families.
FEEA expects to keep its regular emergency assistance program in place through any furlough situation. Employees will still need to meet the threshold of having trouble paying for basic living needs like rent/mortgage or utilities and the maximum no-interest loan amount will still be $1,000. No furlough loans will be made until an employee actually receives a "short" paycheck and meets the other loan criteria. Those seeking FEEA loans will need to complete the regular Emergency Assistance application available at www.feea.org/GetHelp.
Early reports indicate feds worried about the continuing pay freeze and sequestration were leery of pledging as much from their paychecks as they have in the past during the Fall 2012 Combined Federal Campaign, meaning FEEA will begin to feel the bite of lower donation totals just as furloughs are likely to hit.
Widespread furloughs will stretch FEEA’s budget to the maximum, forcing prioritization of the most serious situations, like eviction/foreclosure or utility shut-off. It is certainly beyond FEEA’s means to replace millions of dollars in lost wages, but we will do our best to help as many federal employees as we can.
At such time as furloughs actually go into effect, FEEA will have more information available at www.feea.org.
Donations to FEEA's General Fund are urgently needed to ensure all who qualify for assistance will receive it. Donations may be made via credit card on FEEA's web site at www.feea.org/Give. Donations via check made out to "FEEA" may be sent to: FEEA Headquarters, 3333 S. Wadsworth Blvd., Suite 300, Lakewood, CO 80227.