County man’s shutdown suggestion inspires Congressional bill Slotkin co-sponsors

Jim Pratt of Oceloa Township, left, and other federal employees met with U.S. Rep. Elissa Slotkin, third from left, to talk about the government shutdown.

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Jim Pratt

Jim Pratt of Oceloa Township, a Federal Aviation Administration inspector, gave U.S. Rep. Elissa Slotkin, D-Holly, the idea for the Shutdown Relief Act, which she co-sponsored.

“Last week, I co-sponsored a bill that allows federal workers to borrow from their retirement accounts without penalty — this idea, by the way, came from Jim (Pratt) … who called me early in the shutdown to suggest this,” Slotkin said.

Pratt, along with other constituents from Oakland County, met with Slotkin at the American Legion in Rochester to discuss the effects of the ongoing government shutdown on their families, as well as Congress’s responsibility to re-open the government as soon as possible, and steps Congress can take to provide relief to workers in the interim.

In addition to Pratt, who works to ensure planes are repaired properly and safe enough to fly, federal workers meeting with Slotkin included FDA inspectors responsible for monitoring food and products coming in over the border from Canada, and an EEOC employee who handles workplace discrimination claims. Attendees expressed concern that certain aspects of their agencies’ functions were not being performed — and a desire to return to work as soon as possible.

“Every time I speak with federal workers affected by the government shutdown, I am struck not only by the burden that Washington’s dysfunction has put upon this group of public servants, but their fierce commitments to the jobs they swore an oath to perform,” said Slotkin.

“We all just want to get back to work,” Pratt said. “(Slotkin) has been meeting with people affected, and asking great questions. I’m really glad she’s working for our district.”

In addition to co-sponsoring the Shutdown Relief Act and advocating for bipartisan negotiations to re-open the government, Rep. Slotkin has met with federal workers at Detroit Metro Airport, co-sponsored a bill to fund the Coast Guard during the shutdown, sent a letter to Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos asking she provide relief for federal workers struggling to pay student loans, and announced she will donate her pay to the Alzheimer’s Association during the government shutdown.

“In addition to acting on these interim remedies, the message I’m taking back to Washington is that federal workers are tired of the partisan finger-pointing,” Slotkin said. “They simply want Congress to demonstrate the same commitment to our jobs as federal workers do to theirs: to get in a room and hammer out a deal to keep the government funded and functioning. And that’s what I’m committed to doing.”

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