Delaware Public Media

Loans for federal workers impacted by government shutdown fail in Delaware Senate

Jan 23, 2019

One piece of legislation helping federal workers in Delaware impacted by the partial federal government is heading to Gov. John Carney’s desk. But a companion bill failed to pass the state Senate.


The House passed both pieces of legislation helping federal workers furloughed or working without pay earlier this week.

The bill sponsored by House Speaker Pete Schwartzkopf (D-Rehoboth Beach) allows federal workers to petition a court for a stay of legal actions like eviction, foreclosure, or repossession of items like their car.

That bill also passed the State Senate Wednesday by a simple majority. But the other measure that cleared the House, providing federal workers state-guaranteed short-term loans, failed to advance in the Senate. The legislation, sponsored by House Majority Leader Valerie Longhurst (D-Bear), fell short of the needed supermajority.

Sen. Dave Lawson (R-Marydel) was one of six Republicans who opposed the legislation. He said it sets a bad precedent.

“What business do we have getting into business between a financial institution and its clients," he said. "We’re legislators, we’re not bankers, we’re not business people. We have no business interfering with those contracts.”

Lawson also took issue with Democratic Senate leadership allowing State Sen. Bryan Townsend (D-Newark) to change his vote after the official results were announced. That change opened the door for Democrats to seek a second vote, but the attempt to hold another failed.

Townsend said he hopes banks will still offer loans to federal workers.

“My hope is they step up where the Senate Republicans failed," he said. "I think part of the issue is whether or not we had an opportunity here for an effective public-private partnership.”

Gov. Carney is expected to sign the speaker’s legislation to help federal workers.

Senate Majority Leader Nicole Poore (D-New Castle) and Carney both issued statements saying they’re disappointed the bill failed to pass.