A Fox News guest raised eyebrows Wednesday when he suggested the country could benefit from more government shutdowns. Meanwhile, hundreds of thousands of federal workers are wondering when they might see their next paycheck.
Chapin Fay, a former National Republican Congressional Committee aide, joined Fox News’ “The Daily Briefing” on Wednesday to discuss the ongoing partial government shutdown, which has left 800,000 federal employees furloughed or, if deemed essential, working without pay.
Though these workers will likely receive retroactive pay after the government reopens, some are struggling to pay rent or buy groceries in the interim. What’s more, government contractors likely will not receive back pay.
But Fay didn’t seem too concerned with their plight on Wednesday, even suggesting he would welcome additional shutdowns in the future.
“Trump is winning the shutdown showdown because he’s made it all about immigration, the wall, national security ― these are things that motivate his base,” Fay told Fox News. “I just don’t think that the average American is motivated yet about shutdown politics.”
He added, “I think actually some of us wonder if the government shouldn’t be shut down more often.”
Host Dana Perino laughed off Fay’s insensitive suggestion: “Well, okay, well we could try that.”
Asked later to clarify his remarks, Fay told HuffPost: “I have sympathy for the federal workers not getting paid as I’ve been a government employee at the municipal, state and federal levels. But the size and scope of government is out of control and the country would be better off with less government not more.”
The shutdown, which began on Dec. 22, has affected several federal agencies, including the Department of Homeland Security and the Interior Department. Without staffing, national parks like Yosemite in California and Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado are being overwhelmed with trash and vandalism.
The Department of Agriculture announced Tuesday that Americans who receive food assistance will still get benefits for February even if the shutdown continues, though the agency did not make any promises about March.
Suspending benefits, which is what would apparently happen if the shutdown continues past March, would have serious economic consequences ― and create a lot more hunger for the nation’s 38 million Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program enrollees.
Watch Fay deliver his head-scratching proposal around the 21:50 mark below:
This article has been updated to include Fay’s comment to HuffPost.