JPMorgan Chase on Friday donated $1 million to help federal workers impacted by the partial government shutdown, an act of goodwill that drew stark comparison to controversial remarks a day earlier from a top Trump administration official who suggested furloughed employees take out a loan.
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The money will go to Feeding America and United Way Worldwide to “provide meals, financial services, counseling, and other assistance to federal workers and their families who are in need,” CEO Jamie Dimon wrote in a note to employees.
Dimon said the lender would match any employee donations and “make volunteer opportunities available for employees who wish to support these and other organizations stepping up.”
Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, one of the wealthiest members of President Trump’s cabinet, drew criticism on Thursday after he questioned why federal workers impacted by the now 34-day shutdown are going to food banks instead of borrowing money.
“The obligations that they would undertake, say borrowing from a bank or a credit union, are in effect federally guaranteed. So the 30 days of pay that some people will be out — there's no real reason why they shouldn't be able to get a loan against it,” he told CNBC.
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Trump later attempted to walk-back those comments, telling reporters that Ross was trying to say that “banks are working along” to help customers struggling financially from the pay delays.
“[Banks] collecting the interest and all those things, they work along and that’s what happens in times like this,” he said.
Federal workers -- including Transportation Security Administration agents and Coast Guard members -- on Friday missed their second paycheck due to the lapse in federal funding.