Americans continue to await a decision from Congress about the fiscal year 2024 budget.
If not approved by September 30, Congress risks a temporary government shutdown. Legislators returned to session this week under the threat of a shutdown.
Congresswoman Jennifer Wexton of Virginia highlights how a shutdown would devastate Virginian families in the middle class, according to data from a new Joint Economic Committee (JEC) report.
“This reckless and irresponsible attempt by extreme Republicans to hold our economy hostage inflicts unnecessary pain on Virginia middle class families and threatens to throw our economy into a crisis,” Wexton said. “As the representative to tens of thousands of federal employees, I’m especially concerned about a shutdown hitting our district hardest and forcing families to go without paychecks just for the sake of partisan games. I’ll continue fighting every step of the way to avoid a disastrous shutdown and push back against this extremist agenda.”
The new JEC report clarifies the dire impacts a government shutdown would have, including severely reducing economic output, jeopardizing families’ access to essential federal benefits programs and damaging repercussions on private sector productivity and ability to conduct business. Hundreds of thousands of federal workers, including 170,851 Virginians, would be prevented from working or required to work with no pay.
A government shutdown would:
- Reduce economic output: The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimated that the five-week partial government shutdown in 2018-2019 reduced economic output by $11 billion in the following two quarters – including $3 billion that the U.S. economy never regained.
- Create economic uncertainty: A shutdown of the government by extreme Republicans would jeopardize consumer confidence and cause doubt about the ability of the U.S. to manage its finances, particularly on the heels of the recent credit agency downgrade of the U.S. following the debt-limit crisis.
- Disrupt private sector business operations: Businesses could see loans, mortgage applications, export licenses, federal contracts and access to critical business data significantly delayed or decreased.
- Furlough federal employees: Hundreds of thousands of federal workers across the U.S. could miss out on their regular paychecks while essential government services are interrupted.
- Jeopardize crucial federal benefits: Government assistance programs could be disrupted, increasing hardship for 42 million Americans who receive Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), 2.8 million Americans who receive Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), and 6.3 million Americans who receive monthly Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) benefits.
- Impact travel and tourism: Furloughs and pay freezes for federal employees such as TSA and air traffic controllers could mean longer lines at airport security checkpoints, flight delays, delayed passport processing, as well as limited access to national park sites.