Commerce Sec. Wilbur Ross: ‘I Don’t Understand Why’ Furloughed Federal Workers Are Going to Food Banks

Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross told CNBC this morning that he doesn’t “quite understand” why federal workers lining up at food banks as the government approaches its fifth week of shutdown.

“I know they are, and I don’t really quite understand why,” Ross said in response to a question about the food donations. “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.”

Roughly 800,000 government employees are could miss their second paycheck this week, leading many to get necessary items like food from other places. The shutdown currently has no end in sight.

“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,” he added. “So, it’s not like it’s a gigantic number overall.”

The Washington Post reported this week that acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney requested that federal agencies outline what they would need to keep running if the shutdown goes into March and April. Mulvaney reportedly asked that agency heads submit these reports by Friday.

Watch above, via CNBC.

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Caleb Ecarma was a reporter at Mediaite. Email him here: [email protected] Follow him on Twitter here: @calebecarma