‘I Can’t Afford That, Man’: Father Of Four Confronts GOP Congressman Over Losing Paycheck If He Helps Shut The Government


A caller into C-SPAN Thursday pressed Rep. Ralph Norman (R-SC) on whether or not he will still get paid if the federal government shuts down, noting that as a federal employee losing his paycheck meant he wouldn’t be able to provide for his family.

C-SPAN’s Greta Brawner introduced the call, saying, “Sharpsburg, Maryland. Dennis, watching there, Democratic caller, welcome to the conversation.”

“Hi, senator, congressman, I had a question for you. If the government shuts down, are you guys still going to be being paid throughout the shutdown?” Dennis began, adding:

Because I work for the federal government and I really can’t afford the shutdown right now, so that’s too expensive for me. I’m paying almost $400 a week to care for four kids. And I can’t I can’t afford that, man. I don’t know how you think this is going to help me. Like they cut food stamps and I can’t afford that. So I know where I’m going to be with my friends. If the government gets shut down, I’m going to protest. Out front of the Senate, outside of the Congress until you guys open it all because I can’t afford it. This doesn’t help me.

“Congressman, will you still get paid?” Brawner asked Norman.

“My understanding is we don’t,” Norman replied, adding:

You have your essential services, deemed essential and nonessential, Social Security checks still go out. Medicaid checks, they still go out. You know, the security officers, for my understanding, get paid. But, you know, the fact that he’s not even, he’s just looking at it, taking the position that we can’t shut it down, we don’t want to shut it down, that’s not our first option. The option is accept legitimate cuts so that his job will be secure in the future and their children, if they have any.

I’m doing this for children and grandchildren. But you got to get back to the basic overlying premise and underlying facts. The country is going bankrupt. And if you’re bankrupt, you can’t pay federal employees and you can’t pay security of the country, economic security is national security. So I’m fighting for him. But, you know, you most liberals that, you know, take the position, you can’t do it. Well, then let’s let’s get us on a budget that is sustainable. And if you think the current trend that we’re on, the the spending that we, that has occurred is okay, we just have a difference of opinion and the math doesn’t add up.

Local South Carolina political reporter Caitlin Byrd flagged the moment, noting, “Two federal government employees from Maryland have called into CSPAN while Norman is on. They both called on the Democratic line. Both admonish Norman and other Republicans who are saying they will allow the govt to shutdown if no agreement is reached.”

Watch the full clip above via C-SPAN.

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Alex Griffing is a Senior Editor at Mediaite. Send tips via email: alexanderg@mediaite.com. Follow him on Twitter: @alexgriffing