Ross: ‘I Don’t Understand Why’ Federal Workers Are Using Food Banks

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January 24, 2019 9:31 a.m.

Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross called the rhetoric surrounding the shutdown “hyperbole,” saying that even if federal workers never get paid, it would have a negligible effect on the GDP.

He also expressed his bemusement that federal workers are being forced to use food banks to feed their families.

“Put it in perspective: you’re talking about 800,000 workers and while I feel sorry for the individuals that have hardship cases, 800,000 workers if they never got their pay— which is not the case, they will eventually get it, but if they never got it—you’re talking about a third of a percent on our GDP so it’s not like it’s a gigantic number overall,” he told CNBC’s Andrew Ross Sorkin.

When asked about the federal workers forced to use food banks, Ross seemed nonplussed.

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

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