Our nation is hurtling toward a government shutdown because House Republicans and Tea Party Senators are refusing to fund the federal government unless they can repeal the Affordable Care Act and put insurance companies back in charge of Americans’ health. This dangerous game will cause deep disruption in the lives of American workers, their families and businesses small and large.
With one week to go before a potential partial government shutdown, a key Republican lawmaker is warning troops to be financially prepared for the possibility of not getting a mid-October paycheck.
Rep. C.W. “Bill” Young, R-Fla., chairman of the House defense appropriations subcommittee, warns that the troops’ morale and readiness will suffer even though the Defense Department does not shut down when its funding stops.
“All military personnel will continue to serve and accrue pay, but will not actually be paid until appropriations are available,” Young said. The mid-month payday would be the first in jeopardy…
“Readiness and morale of our armed forces will suffer,” he said. “The impact of a shutdown on the department and the military and civilian families — many of whom live paycheck to paycheck — is simply catastrophic.”
To understand what Congress is risking every time it nears a shutdown, consider what past ones have cost. In 1996, the Office of Management and Budget tallied the two major shutdowns of the decade at about $1.4 billion. Adjusting for inflation would bring that total to more than $2 billion in today’s dollars.
But as an analysis (pdf) by Roy Meyers, a political scientist at the University of Maryland, found, that estimate left out a lot. It didn’t account for the lost value of work that wasn’t done or the $300 million the federal parks would have taken in or the reduced pace of IRS audits. And then there are the less visible consequences.
Meyers suggests that contractors might start charging the government a premium after shutdowns to compensate for the uncertainty of their payments. And a large body of work shows that unstable budget processes at the state level raise borrowing costs, meaning some of the costs are permanent, or at least long-lived.
Even getting near a shutdown costs money. The government must prepare, and that means a lot of hours spent on nothing useful.
Huffington Post/YouGov poll:
Sixty percent of respondents said that they think a shutdown would hurt the economy, including 44 percent who said they think it would hurt a lot…
Fifty percent of Americans, meanwhile, said that the government shutting down would hurt them and their families, including 28 percent who said it would hurt them a lot.
Instead, congressional failure to fund the government would prompt the HHS to halt down programs that rely on “discretionary” spending, money that Congress has to renew every year.
These included the $30 billion National Institutes of Health, the biggest source of money for biomedical research in the world; anti-fraud programs at Medicare; programs for elderly people; Head Start grants for pre-kindergarten education; and grants for groups that care for people with HIV and AIDS.
The NIH wouldn’t make grants and would not admit any new patients to its research hospital in Bethesda, Maryland.
Suspension of Approval of Applications for Small Business Loans…One department where workers would likely have to hunker down while the shutdown plays out is the Small Business Administration, which, among other things, approves applications for loans to small businesses. These services would probably be suspended in a shutdown and depending on how long the last shutdown lasted, applications could get backlogged, meaning the impact could be felt even after the government reopens…
Passport Services Suspended…Passport services would be suspended in the event of a government shutdown with a few exceptions in cases of emergencies…
D.C. Residents, Start Composting. Because trash collection in the District of Columbia will probably be suspended temporarily if the government shuts down.
…much of the federal government would be shuttered, and the money those agencies would normally spend would be delayed. Hundreds of thousands of federal workers would be furloughed without pay.
For the Pentagon and US defense sector, a shutdown would mean the Defense Department and other security agencies could not award new contracts. Private-sector employees who work on DoD weapon programs at government facilities across the country would be unable to access their offices.
The head of the Environmental Protection Agency says the agency will “effectively shut down” unless Congress approves stopgap funding by Oct. 1.
EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy says the agency won’t be able to pay employees.