Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross on Thursday said he doesn’t understand why some federal workers are seeking out food banks during the government shutdown, saying they have the option of low-interest loans instead.
“These are basically government-guaranteed loans because the government has committed, these folks will get back pay once this whole thing gets settled down,” Ross said. “So there is really not a good excuse why there really should be a liquidity crisis now.”
“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,” he continued.
Federal employees have reported going to homeless shelters to find food for their families, but when asked on Thursday about the desperate measures, Ross replied: “Well, I know they are, and I don’t really quite understand why.” Ross argued with loans backed by the guaranteed back pay, federal workers should be able to find the money to carry them through the shutdown.
“Here ya go. This’ll tide you over until your loan goes through.”