A CNN discussion about the ongoing partial government shutdown got heated Friday night after former Trump economic adviser Stephen Moore suggested that some federal workers were treating the shutdown like a “paid vacation.”
The “CNN Tonight With Don Lemon” panel included Lemon, Moore, and CNN commentator Catherine Rampell.
“It is interesting to me we have so many — hundreds and hundreds of thousands of nonessential government employees,” Moore said. “Look, I have lived in the swamp for 30 years. These — it’s interesting to me. We’re talking about, oh my goodness, these workers are going to go without a paycheck for a couple weeks. Look, I don’t think this is going to last hopefully more than a few more days, but we will see.”
“Private sector workers face layoffs,” he continued. “There are strikes. You talked about coal miners. They lose their jobs. That happens in the private sector all the time.”
Moore noted the differences between federal employees with “basically lifetime tenure,” who are often “impossible to fire,” and private sector workers.
“These workers are going to get paid,” said Moore.
“You don’t know that,” Rampell responded.
“A lot of them are treating this like … a paid vacation because it is for a lot — they will get eventually paid. They’re going to get paid vacation,” said Moore. (RELATED: Ocasio-Cortez Runs When Asked If She’ll Forego Salary During Shutdown)
Rampell responded by noting that some of the workers would have to pay their mortgages between now and then. She also spoke about those on “federal government contracts who are never entitled to this sort of back pay” such as “low wage workers, people who work in food services, janitorial services, people who clean bathrooms.”
Lemon brought up essential employees like TSA workers who have to work but aren’t getting paid.
Moore acknowledged their points but reiterated that he was speaking of “nonessential agencies like the Department of Commerce and Department of Education that don’t do much that’s very useful.”
Things only got more heated from there as the panel discussed what was essential and what was not.