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Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross: Unpaid Workers Should Take Out Loans

HeadlineJan 25, 2019

Meanwhile, President Trump’s commerce secretary, multimillionaire investor Wilbur Ross, said Thursday that federal workers should simply take out bridge loans until they get paid. Ross was being questioned by CNBC anchor Andrew Ross Sorkin.

Andrew Ross Sorkin: “There are reports that there are some federal workers who are going to homeless shelters to get food.”

Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross: “Well, I know they are, and I don’t really quite understand why, because, as I mentioned before, the obligations that they would undertake—say, of 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.”

Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, whose net worth is estimated around $700 million, also diminished the financial hardship faced by unpaid federal workers.

Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross: “Eight hundred thousand 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.”

Meanwhile, President Trump’s daughter-in-law Lara Trump said this week that federal workers are enduring “a little bit of pain” but should be proud of the sacrifice they’re making. Lara Trump was speaking with the online program “Bold TV.”

Carrie Sheffield: “So, in terms of the workers who are coming to work and not getting paid, what would you say to them?”

Lara Trump: “Listen, this is—it’s not fair to you, and we all get that, but this is so much bigger than any one person. It is a little bit of pain, but it’s going to be for the future of our country.”

President Trump’s daughter-in-law Lara Trump is President Trump’s campaign adviser. Wilbur Ross’s and Lara Trump’s comments came as state and local governments that administer food and housing assistance warned benefits to millions of Americans could begin drying up in mid-February due to the shutdown. Earlier this week, Sara Nelson, president of the Association of Flight Attendants, called for a general strike aimed at ending the shutdown.

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