So few words, so much mischief. Slipped into Division N – COVID Relief – of this massive legislation, is this short paragraph:
SEC. 1002. CONTRACTOR PAY. Section 3610 of division A of the CARES Act (Public Law 116–136) shall be applied by substituting ‘‘March 31, 2021’’ for ‘‘September 30, 2020.’’
This innocuous language extends a program to pay government contractor employees who aren’t able to report to work because they work at a federal agency that is on a “work from home” status but these contractor employees are unable to do their work from home.
As we wrote in our Weekly Wastebasket last Friday, “Among the potential giveaways of your tax dollars is an effort to pay government contractors through April, even though they are unable to work because the agency they serve is effectively closed. There doesn’t appear to be any additional money to pay these salaries, instead the agencies would use existing funds already appropriated. Without a trace of apparent irony, the CEOs of General Dynamics, Deloitte, and Leidos (among others) wrote in a letter to Congress, ‘This has been particularly crucial to many small businesses who cannot afford to keep their employees afloat when unable to access federal facilities.’ Perhaps if the Fortune 500 members of the government contracting elite were less Scrooge and more Cratchit and paid out of hide for their employees who aren’t working, there would be enough money to cover the ones employed by small businesses.”
So chalk another one up for special interests. Contractor employees who can’t report to work will continue to be paid by federal funds, even if they work at a major corporation who could pay them out of hide.