Dem senator: 'Heart-wrenching' to see federal workers having to go to food banks

Dem senator: 'Heart-wrenching' to see federal workers having to go to food banks
© Greg Nash

Sen. Ben CardinBenjamin (Ben) Louis CardinOvernight Energy: EPA moves to raise ethanol levels in gasoline | Dems look to counter White House climate council | Zinke cleared of allegations tied to special election Democrats offer legislation to counter White House climate science council Dems face big questions on tax plans for 2020 MORE (D-Md.) said Thursday that it was "heart-wrenching" to meet with federal workers forced to seek assistance at food banks as they face a second missed paycheck during the ongoing partial government shutdown.

"You have federal workers, very patriotic people doing public service, showing up for work every day even though they’re not getting paid, carrying out critical missions to our national security and public safety," Cardin said on CNN.

"And here they have to go in a food line to get food because they don’t have money to buy food," he continued. "It was heart-wrenching. What they want, they want government open. They want us to negotiate the way we should on border security. They think the shutdown is wrong."

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Roughly 25 percent of the federal government has been shut down for 34 days and counting. If the shutdown stretches into next week, federal workers will miss a second paycheck. Some workers have been furloughed while others have been required to continue working without pay.

Cardin, who spent Wednesday at a food bank in Baltimore and at a relief kitchen organized by chef José Andrés, said Democrats and Republicans in the Senate are "trying to figure out a path forward."

He said he would not support President TrumpDonald John TrumpDem lawmaker says Electoral College was 'conceived' as way to perpetuate slavery Stanley Cup champion Washington Capitals to visit White House on Monday Transportation Dept requests formal audit of Boeing 737 Max certification MORE's proposal to reopen the government because he disagreed with the substance of his ideas on border security and immigration reform.

The Senate is set to vote Thursday on the president's proposal, which includes $5.7 billion for a wall along the southern border and well as temporary protections for certain immigrant groups. The Senate will also vote on a measure that would fund the government into February.

Neither measure is expected to receive the 60 votes needed to pass the Senate, raising the prospect that the shutdown stretches into February.

The Democrat-held House has already passed bills to fund the government.