What's At Stake: Federal Government Shutdown
From worker safety to public health, from support for hundreds of thousands of veterans to the U.S. economy, the impacts of the 2013 federal government shutdown are widespread and will become more severe the longer the situation drags on. Below are a set of resources developed by the Center for Effective Government to explain specific impacts of the shutdown and its larger ramifications for people across the country. Check back often for updates and new materials.
To explain the impacts of the nation’s first shutdown in more than 17 years, numerous groups have organized fact sheets, reports, and blogs on the shutdown. We’ve compiled the best of these resources below to distill confusion about what the shutdown could mean for you.
This map identifies the states, counties, and congressional districts where the more than 2 million federal employees in this country work. The map uses the most up-to-date information from the Office of Personnel Management, dated June 2013. The data is collected by county. The map also highlights those districts whose members signed an August 2013 letter to Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) demanding that defunding the Affordable Care Act be a part of any continuing resolution to fund the federal government.
Because the scope of health and safety protections provided by the federal government is vast, it’s easy to not fully appreciate the impacts of a government shutdown on our daily lives. An Oct. 11 report prepared by the majority staff of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation highlights several other areas where the government shutdown has potentially put the public’s health and safety at risk.
What does the government shutdown mean for the economy? It depends on a lot, namely how long it lasts. But it is already rattling markets and is estimated to have negative economic impacts. Members of both political parties have stated that the shutdown is not good for the economy. The White House has stated that a one-week shutdown would cost the economy $10 billion.
On Oct. 7, the Congressional Research Service updated its report on how a lapse in appropriations – in other words, a government shutdown – is affecting the Department of Defense (DoD). The report comes after Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel recalled most of the estimated 400,000 furloughed DoD civilian employees and the House passed a bill providing back pay to all furloughed federal workers once the shutdown ends.
Now that the shutdown is a reality, it’s important to consider some of the health and safety concerns that may be less than obvious. Our nation's seniors in nursing facilities, miners and other workers, and the public at large are at risk as the situation drags on.
While it’s common to equate the federal government with the Washington, D.C. metro area, the federal government provides services all over the country. Because of this, the shutdown’s impact will ripple throughout the country – even before considering the broader economic impacts that would come if it is prolonged.
The government shutdown, if prolonged, will have far reaching impact beyond the federal government. But even in a short shutdown, federal workers will face impacts. You could call them fiscal policy's canary in a coal mine since they are among the first to be affected. While many will report to work – with the possibility of a delay in pay – many will be furloughed and may not receive pay for this forced time off. That would be up to Congress.
While there has been substantial media coverage of how a prolonged shutdown would affect disability and pension payments to veterans, what has been lost in most of the coverage is that large numbers of veterans are being affected now. As more than 800,000 federal employees face furloughs, it is rarely mentioned that a quarter of the federal workforce is made up of veterans, many of them disabled.
The government shutdown can now claim another victim: government transparency. Several functions dedicated to providing information to the American public have been declared “non-essential” and are suspended during the lapse in appropriations. You might say that open government is now closed for business.
The federal government shutdown, due to the efforts by some conservative members of Congress to defund the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and attack implementation of our nation’s public health laws, will impact the health and safety of workers and the public’s health.
A government shutdown, particularly if it is prolonged, will affect more than just federal workers and their families. The large number of people employed by federal contractors and subcontractors could be at risk of furloughs, delays in pay, and adverse impacts to the companies they work for.
The government shutdown will have far-reaching impacts, especially if it lasts for more than one week. What happened the last time the government shut down, and how does the current situation differ from the two shutdowns in late 1995? How will the shutdown impact the economy, especially in areas with large numbers of federal workers?
The current political game of chicken that has shut down the government and, even more seriously, could lead to an unprecedented U.S. default on its debt in mid-October, is harmful for everyday Americans and businesses. Economic disruptions caused by political battles in Washington only put more roadblocks in the way of an economic recovery.