GOP congressman says Trump shutdown won’t hurt workers because they don’t immediately need paychecks

Rep. Scott Perry (R-PA) thinks Trump's shutdown will be harmless. He's wrong.

Rep. Scott Perry (R-PA), in 2016
Rep. Scott Perry (R-PA), in 2016. CREDIT: Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call

Rep. Scott Perry (R-PA), the man who falsely blamed ISIS for the 2017 Las Vegas mass shooting and touted his receipt of a fake award from Sasha Baron Cohen, said Thursday that he is not worried about government employees who will go without pay in President Donald Trump’s promised partial government shutdown. His reasoning: he doesn’t think any federal employee would really suffer from going without a paycheck.

On Thursday, the president and the House Republican majority blew up a bipartisan deal to keep the government funded through February, instead insisting on $5 billion in taxpayer money to build the wall Trump repeatedly promised would be funded entirely by Mexico. Without some sort of last minute accord, large swaths of the federal government will shutdown at the end of Friday — just days before the Christmas and New Year holidays.

Such a shutdown would mean that workers at the many federal agencies — including the Departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Justice, Homeland Security, Interior, State, Transportation, and Housing and Urban Development — would either have to furlough their employees or make them work unpaid.

Somehow Perry, who currently represents around 10,000 federal employees in Pennsylvania’s 4th congressional district, is not worried.


On Thursday night, he told a Politico reporter that since Congress typically provides back pay to federal employees after a shutdown, doing without pay for days, weeks, or even months doesn’t really matter. “Who’s living that they’re not going to make it to the next paycheck?” he asked.

According to data from the federal Office of Personnel Management, probably many federal workers. Thousands of Pennsylvanians work in federal jobs that pay less than $44,000 annually. The bottom 20 percent of American households have an average savings of less than $8,750, meaning for many, going without a paycheck or two could present a real financial hardship.

It’s understandable that Perry himself doesn’t worry much about skipping a paycheck: As a member of Congress, Perry gets an annual salary of $174,000. His personal financial disclosure reveals he also has at least half a million dollars in assets as well.


Before the 2018 midterms, Perry expressed his opposition to the federal minimum wage, asserting that if the government stays out of it, “as long as you’re willing to work hard and show up with a good attitude, I suspect you can get another job at a higher wage.”