Sharpton, pundit spar over federal workers left without pay

While more than 420,000 federal employees are working without pay during the government shutdown, one GOP pundit claimed it was of little importance to most Americans.

In an MSNBC interview Saturday, Jen Kerns told the Rev. Al Sharpton that those punching the clock without a paycheck would receive little sympathy from the public.

“I may sound like the Grinch saying it, but look, the bureaucrats in Washington, D.C., did not suffer as the rest of America did in the last 10 years with the Obama recession,” she argued.

But Sharpton wasn’t buying it.

“We’re talking about a shutdown,” he said, attempting to steer the strategist away from criticism of President Donald Trump’s predecessor and back to the matter at hand. “We’re talking about men and women sitting at the dinner table on Christmas Day not knowing when they’re going to see their next paycheck, and you’re calling them paper pushers and bureaucrats, so they don’t matter.”

Kerns shot back: “I didn’t say they don’t matter. I’m saying they have a different job security and pay scale than the rest of the American people have felt over the last eight to 10 years.”

Doubling down on her remarks via Twitter, Kerns wrote, “It’s true! American ppl just don’t feel sorry for paper-pusher bureaucrats in D.C. who bullied the Tea Party for years, & who haven’t had a layoff or to forgo their 4-5% pay increases while Americans were laid off many years. Sorry!”

Despite Kerns’ comments, the federal workforce isn’t limited to “bureaucrats” in Washington. Seventy-nine percent of federal employees work outside of the D.C. region.

As of midnight Saturday, the government came grinding to a halt over Congress’ inability to compromise on a spending deal as Trump demands it include $5 billion for the wall on the southern border.

The bill passed the Republican-led House, but it was blocked by the Senate, suggesting that the impasse might not be resolved until January when Democrats take back control of the House.

While federal workers have been reimbursed for their services following previous shutdowns, for now, they’ll have to wait.