Wilbur Ross: I Don’t “Understand” Why Gov’t Workers Are Using Food Banks

Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross is perplexed by federal workers turning to food banks as they go without paychecks.

The fact that unpaid federal workers struggling during the partial government shutdown are turning to food banks to feed their families is perplexing to Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, according to an interview he gave on CNBC.

TPM reported that Ross said those federal workers should be “borrowing from a bank or a credit union” in order to get by without their paychecks.

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.”

Ross also said fears that the shutdown could wipe out first quarter growth are unfounded:

“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.

The shutdown has now lasted over one month and does not look to end soon.