SILVER SPRING, Md. (FOX 5 DC) - Amid reports the White House is studying the shutdown’s impacts should it last through March or April, furloughed workers are preparing to miss their second paycheck.
On CNBC Thursday, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross sparked anger when he said he didn’t understand why furloughed workers would need to rely on charity, specifically free food from a homeless shelter. Ross suggested workers take out a loan.
“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 said.
Renaud Scott, a furloughed Emergency Management Specialist at FEMA, said he is among those workers who’ve benefited from free food.
“It’s really (missing) the second check now that’s impacting us,” Scott said.
He laughed at Ross’ suggestion, saying taking out a loan would be an added stress and expense.
“Seemed out of touch,” he said of the suggestion.
Scott’s family is doing what they can to make it work. He, his wife, Malaika, and their two children recently moved into a new home in Silver Spring.
“If they don’t figure this out very soon, we couldn’t stay here,” Malaika said. “We wouldn’t be able to. Not without his income.”
They have started asking for extensions on their bills, and their 9-year-old daughter, Milah, is even helping out. She’s started selling handmade items online including bookmarks and buttons. She says she enjoys crafting, but it’s more than that.
“It also helps raise money for the house,” Milah said.
She and Malaika, who’s a former dance teacher, have planned a dance workshop this weekend. Mom will teach, Milah will sell.
“She’s so excited for that,” Malaika said. “We have a whole little set up, like a table and everything.”
As the family looks for ways to make it work, they say it’s past time for Congress and President Trump to follow suit.
”Why can’t we come up with a solution?” asked Scott.