Commerce Secretary criticized for recommendations to furloughed workers

Posted at 2:37 PM, Jan 24, 2019

NEW YORK – President Trump’s Commerce Secretary and administration in general is coming under fire from Democrats for being “out of touch” and “totally tone deaf” to the impact a government shutdown is having on furloughed federal workers.

Appearing on CNBC this morning, Secretary Wilbur Ross was asked why some of the 800,000 workers are seeking assistance from food banks in their communities during the month they haven’t been paid.

Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross
Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta, File)

“Well I know they are, and I don’t really quite understand whyBecause as I mentioned before the obligations that they would undertake, say of borrowing from a bank or a credit union, are in effect federally guaranteed. So the 30 days of pay some people will be out there’s really no reason why they shouldn’t be able to get a loan against it,” replied Ross.

Now true, the people might have to pay a little bit of interest, but the idea that it’s paycheck or zero is not a really valid idea,” says Ross, explaining further that the employees will be paid when the shutdown ends.

His comments centered on the statement that 800,000 people going without pay is not a huge impact on the US economy. Then there’s the estimated 1.2 million contract workers who do not have a guarantee of a payment at the end of this event.

Ross was a billionaire financier before coming aboard to join the Trump administration.

Senator Joe Manchin (D-West Virginia) commented, “I guess anybody at the top of the food chain is totally tone deaf. If that’s where they are. If they’ve been out of touch and out of reality for that long, cause I can tell you, I’ve been all over West Virginia, people are hurting.”

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-California) said, “I don’t know, is this the ‘let them eat cake’ kind of attitude or ‘call your father for money,’ or ‘this is character building for you,’ it’s all going to end up very well as long as you don’t get your paychecks. ‘I don’t quite understand why’ as hundreds of thousands of men and women are about to miss a second paycheck tomorrow.”

Colorado Senator Cory Gardner will introduce legislation this week calling for all federal employees to be paid immediately, regardless of furlough status, before the shutdown ends.


Sen. Gardner to introduce legislation to pay federal workers

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