A Democratic congressman told CNN on Wednesday that President Donald Trump may refuse to sign a bill granting backpay to employees who have been furloughed during the government shutdown.
CNN host Brianna Keilar asked Rep. Anthony Brown (D-MY) on Wednesday at what point do “Democrats blink” and fund Trump’s border wall so that government employees and contractors can begin to get paid again.
“They are saying they don’t want the wall,” Brown said of his constituents. “What they’re saying is they want to be on the job, they want to get paid and they don’t want the wall.”
“So, you think they forgive Democrats if they’re not on the job?” Keilar wondered.
“I don’t know if it’s about forgiving Democrats,” Brown replied. “I think it’s about [placing] blame where it squarely resides, and that’s President Trump, who 10 days ago took ownership of the shutdown.”
“Many of my [constituents] are working without pay, it’s creating a lot of uncertainty, unpredictability and angst during the holidays,” he continued.
Keilar argued that Trump’s constituents are “more interested in the wall than keeping the government running.”
“This president has been engaged in divisive politics since day one,” Brown explained. “He views federal employees as Democrats. He doesn’t hold Democrats in high regard. That’s why the president took away their pay raise for 2019, he’s made it easier to fire federal government employees.”
“My concern,” Brown added, “is that he may not even support legislation that retroactively pays federal government employees. This is a president who has really beat up on federal government employees. And the losers are not just the employees, but Americans.”
“You really think that the president would not give them that pay?” Keilar asked. “If I’m really a federal employee and I hear that, I’m really freaked out.”
“Federal government employees are already freaked out,” Brown said, admitting that he knew of no specific plans not to honor backpay for federal government employees.
“You have his back actions,” Brown observed. “Freezing the pay raise, making it easier to fire them, he was taken to court [for] some of those executive orders beating up on federal employees… I think we should always be approaching him with caution when it comes to federal government employees.”
Watch the video below from CNN.