GOP rep: Federal workers living paycheck to paycheck 'benefit' from shutdown


Alabama Rep. Mo Brooks, who gets paid no matter what, thinks a shutdown would basically just be a holiday for federal workers.

With divided Republicans taking their cues from Donald Trump and preparing to shut down their own government rather than negotiate on immigration, they are struggling to rationalize and explain away the consequences.

Enter Alabama Rep. Mo Brooks, who, during an interview with CNN’s Chris Cuomo, did not seem to grasp what a shutdown would do to federal workers of modest means.

Cuomo wanted to know whether Brooks wanted to do anything about furloughed workers who won’t get paid. Especially since, he reminded Brooks, “you guys get paid. Twenty-Seventh Amendment to the Constitution, you can't change congressional pay until the beginning of the year.”

Brooks tried to dismiss the issue. “Historically speaking, every government employee has been paid in full.”

“Right, but often it's back pay, right?” Cuomo pressed him. “Very often, people live check to check. They need their money when they are supposed to get it, not when you decide to get your act together.”

“That's one way to look at it,” said Brooks. “The other way to look at it is, to the extent that there is a government shutdown and these federal workers aren't working, they are getting paid for not working when they get that back pay. There's some benefit to not having to do the work and still get the money.”

As Cuomo noted, some federal workers do not have the luxury of putting off a paycheck. Many of them have rent, or bills, that must be paid now. Brooks, who has a net worth of $678,000, would not be personally experiencing this insecurity even if his paycheck was not constitutionally guaranteed.

Brooks has consistently shown he does not understand how the finances and lives of ordinary people work. He has previously claimed we should get rid of Obamacare because “people who lead good lives” do not have pre-existing conditions.

Cuomo did an admirable job trying to hit home the implications of a shutdown to Brooks. But it seemed to fall on deaf ears.