It’s Not Over…2015 Bipartisan Budget Act

Government Affairs Institute at Georgetown University By Kenneth Gold, Director 11/2/15 It’s Not Over Many of the news stories that covered last week’s passage of the two-year, 2015 Bipartisan Budget Act had headlines similar to the Associated Press story titled “No shutdown, no default: Congress leaders, Obama back deal”.  And while the agreement is an enormous and widely unexpected accomplishment that does prevent the country from going into default, it doesn’t in itself fund the government past December 11. The agreement that suspended the debt ceiling and lifted the caps … Continue reading

U.S. Avoids Debt Default as Congress Passes Fiscal Plan (See how your Congressional member voted)

(This “Fiscal Plan” – Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015 – with the vote of each member of Congress will be found here. – Admin.) Bloomberg.com By Terrence Dopp and Kathleen Miller 10/30/15 Bill goes to Obama for his signature before Nov. 3 deadline Agreement ends month of turmoil for House Republicans Congress passed a two-year bipartisan budget plan that avoids a default on U.S. debt, increases spending on domestic and defense programs and ends months of turmoil among House Republicans. The 64-35 Senate vote early Friday, following House passage two … Continue reading

Impacts and Costs of the 2013 Government Shutdown

(“Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” – George Santayana)

Impacts and Costs of the Government Shutdown

By Sylvia Mathews Burwell
November 7, 2013

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Summary: As the President has said, the shutdown that occurred last month inflicted completely unnecessary damage on our economy and took a toll on families and businesses across the country. Today, OMB is releasing a report that catalogs the breadth and depth of this damage, and details the various impacts and costs of the October 2013 Federal government shutdown.
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As the President has said, the shutdown that occurred last month inflicted completely unnecessary damage on our economy and took a toll on families and businesses across the country. Today, OMB is releasing a report that catalogs the breadth and depth of this damage, and details the various impacts and costs of the October 2013 Federal government shutdown.

The report explains in detail the economic, budgetary, and programmatic costs of the shutdown. These costs include economic disruption, negative impacts on Federal programs and services that support American businesses and individuals, costs to the government, and impacts on the Federal workforce.

While the report covers a variety of areas, it highlights five key impacts and costs.

First, Federal employees were furloughed for a combined total of 6.6 million days, more than in any previous government shutdown. At its peak, about 850,000 individuals per day were furloughed. That number fell once most Department of Defense civilian employees were able to return to work as the Pentagon implemented the Pay Our Military Act.

Second, the shutdown cost the Federal government billions of dollars. The payroll cost of furloughed employee salaries alone – that is, the lost productivity of furloughed workers – was $2.0 billion. Beyond this, the Federal government also incurred other direct costs as a result of the shutdown. Fees went uncollected; IRS enforcement and other program integrity measures were halted; and the Federal government had to pay additional interest on payments that were late because of the shutdown.

Third, the shutdown had significant negative effects on the economy. The Council of Economic Advisers has estimated that the combination of the shutdown and debt limit brinksmanship resulted in 120,000 fewer private sector jobs created during the first two weeks of October. And multiple surveys have shown that consumer and business confidence was badly damaged.

The report highlights some of the more direct impacts the shutdown had on the economy by shutting down government services. For example:

  • Federal permitting and environmental and other reviews were halted, delaying job-creating transportation and energy projects.
  • Import and export licenses and applications were put on hold, negatively impacting trade.
  • Federal loans to small businesses, homeowners, and families in rural communities were put on hold.
  • Private-sector lending to individuals and small businesses was disrupted, because banks and lenders couldn’t access government income and Social Security Number verification services.
  • Travel and tourism was disrupted at national parks and monuments across the country, hurting the surrounding local economies.

Fourth, the shutdown impacted millions of Americans who rely on critical programs and serviceshalted by the shutdown. For example:

  • Hundreds of patients were prevented from enrolling in clinical trials at the National Institutes of Health.
  • Almost $4 billion in tax refunds were delayed.
  • Agencies from the Food and Drug Administration to the Environmental Protection Agency had to cancel health and safety inspections, while the National Transportation Safety Board was unable to investigate airplane accidents in a timely fashion.
  • Critical government-sponsored scientific research was put on hold. Notably, four of the five Nobel prize winning scientists who work for the Federal government were furloughed during the shutdown. 

Fifth, the shutdown could have a long-term impact on our ability to attract and retain the skilled and driven workforce that the Federal government needs. The shutdown followed a three-year pay freeze for Federal employees, cuts in training and support, and, for hundreds of thousands of workers, administrative furloughs earlier this year because of sequestration. These cuts will make it harder for the government to attract and retain the talent it needs to provide top level service to the American people.

The report makes clear that the costs and impacts of the shutdown were significant and widespread, and demonstrates why this type of self-inflicted wound should not occur again.

(Sylvia Mathews Burwell is the Director of the Office of Management and Budget.)

House, Senate leaders still lack plan to avoid shutdown

The only thing clear two weeks from the deadline is it will go down to the wire. Politico.com By Jake Sherman and Anna Palmer 9/17/15 The same Republicans who campaigned on doing away with legislative crises are careening toward government shutdown in less than two weeks with still no concrete plan to stop it. It’s not that Speaker John Boehner’s (R-Ohio) leadership team is hiding their best hand. They have no trick up their sleeve, no ace in the hole — pick your cliché. Nearly everyone in House and Senate … Continue reading

The time to dust off shutdown, furlough plans is approaching

(After a 16 day shutdown in 2013 some members of Congress wanted it to continue longer. How did your member vote? Find out here. – Admin.) The Washington Post (use this link to see 108 “comments”) By Eric Yoder 9/9/15 With the first partial government shutdown in two years looking more likely, federal agencies may soon have to dust off plans that have lain dormant since then, while federal employees would have to re-learn the facts of furloughs. Shutdown contingency plans are on file for federal entities ranging from the AbilityOne … Continue reading

House GOP leaders desperate to avoid shutdown

(Information about the Freedom Caucus – mentioned below – as well as a list of members including Indiana’s Rep. Marlin Stutzman will be found here.) With the clock ticking, Republicans have yet to settle on a strategy to resolve a showdown over Planned Parenthood funding. Politico.com By Jake Sherman and Anna Palmer 8/25/15 An explosive confrontation brewing between the House Republican leadership and conservatives over Planned Parenthood is threatening to shut down the government for the second time in three years. And House GOP leaders have yet to settle on … Continue reading

Shutdown…again?

11/23/14 – It was only about one year ago that a 16 day government shutdown ended.  The day following its ending President Obama stated, “…These last few weeks have inflicted completely unnecessary damage on our economy.  We don’t know yet the full scope of the damage, but every analyst out there believes it slowed our growth. We know that families have gone without paychecks or services they depend on.  We know that potential homebuyers have gotten fewer mortgages, and small business loans have been put on hold.  We know that consumers have … Continue reading