Trump’s chief economic adviser tells unpaid federal workers to get a loan

‘They should contact their supervisors in order to help them with their federal credit unions making low-interest loans and so on,’ says Kevin Hassett

Chris Baynes
Thursday 17 January 2019 12:58 GMT
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Donald Trump's chief economic adviser says federal government staff should take out loans to survive shutdown

Donald Trump’s chief economic adviser has suggested government staff should take out loans to survive the federal shutdown.

Kevin Hassett, chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers, claimed there were “many steps that people can take” to cope with the loss of income, revealing one of his colleagues had been driving an Uber to make money while off work.

About 800,000 workers have gone unpaid for nearly a month amid deadlock between the president and congressional Democrats over funding the US-Mexico border wall.

They have been promised back pay when the shutdown is over, which Mr Hassett admitted “doesn’t really help them right now when they’re trying to pay the bills”.

He told Fox Business: “There are many steps that people can take. They should contact their supervisors in order to help them with their federal credit unions making low-interest loans and so on.

“As soon as it’s resolved then people will get their pay cheques and the government will go back to acting normal.”

Financial regulators have urged banks to make accommodations for affected workers amid growing concern about the impact of the shutdown, which has also taken a toll on millions of contractors.

“While the effects of the federal government shutdown on individuals should be temporary, affected borrowers may face a temporary hardship in making payments on debts such as mortgages, student loans, car loans, business loans, or credit cards,” said a joint statement issued by six agencies last week.

Financial instituions should “consider prudent efforts to modify terms on existing loans or extend new credit to help affected borrowers,” said the statement by the Board of Governers of the Federal Reserve System, Conference of State Bank Supervisors, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, National Credit Union Administration, and Office of the Comptroller of the Currency.

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Earlier this month Mr Trump said he would be prepared to prolong the shutdown for “months or even years”.

The White House has admitted the deadlock, which entered its 27th day on Thursday, is having a far worse impact on economic growth than anticipated.

In an effort to alleviate the damage caused by the shutdown, the government this week called thousands of federal employees at airports, food inspection facilities and the Internal Revenue Service back to work without pay.

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