Late-night host Jimmy Kimmel has pledged to give one furloughed federal worker a job on his talk show every day until the partial government shutdown ends. He made the announcement on January 7 during the opening monologue of his late-night talk show.
The host of Jimmy Kimmel Live is saddened by the government’s response to citizens who work daily to keep things running behind the scenes for the now-shuttered departments of the federal government.
“It’s unfortunate that these people, these workers who have nothing to do with this ridiculous wall, aren’t getting paychecks, especially right after the holidays,” Kimmel said in his monologue.
“Tonight and every night until the shutdown is over, we’re going to put a federal employee to work here at the show,” Kimmel told his audience.
CNN reported the late-night host and frequent critic of Donald Trump then introduced his first temporary employee, John Kostelnik. Kostelnik is a prison guard at a federal prison in Victorville, California, reported CNN.
On the show, Kostelnik told Kimmel he “hopes” to be paid when the shutdown ends.
He was asked by Kimmel if he objects to being used as a “pawn in this fight over the wall.”
Kostelnik replied, “absolutely.”
The federal government shutdown began on December 22 after Congress and the White House failed to reach a spending deal that either side could agree on.
President Trump has dug in his heels and demanded Congress allow for more than $5 billion to fund a wall at the U.S.-Mexico border, to which they refused, countering with other monies that would instead fund border security but not the wall.
To do his part, Kimmel gave Kostelnik the job of playing the tambourine with his show’s band, cited CNN.
“That’s called solving problems, folks,” Kimmel stated.
On January 8, Kimmel hired Mark Munoz, a worker for the U.S. Forest Service fire department.
Trump maintains he sees no end to the shutdown and, according to CNN, says he’s going to keep the government shut down as long as it takes to fund the wall.
Kimmel said this regarding of Trump’s actions on January 8.
“Today marks day 18 of the government shutdown. It’s now the second longest of all time. And Trump says he’s going to keep the government shut down for years if he has to until he gets this wall. As a result of this hostage situation, around 800,000 government employees are in their third week of not getting paid,” Kimmel said before introducing Munoz.
Munoz said he received his last paycheck last week and is required to keep working without pay.
For his job on the show, Kimmel hired Munoz to act as Guillermo Rodriguez, Kimmel’s on-stage sidekick for the duration of the show.
The shutdown directly affects the Department of Agriculture, which is among the nine federal agencies that shut down on December 21. The DEA is guaranteeing funding for the nation’s largest food aid program, known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), through February, reported Vox.
Unless the government reopens before the end of February, millions of Americans living below the poverty line could see a cut to their food aid.
Jimmy Kimmel Live airs weeknights on ABC.