Sen. Mark Warner asks for study of shutdown impact

How much did the 16-day partial government shutdown cost the U.S. economy? Sen. Mark Warner thinks we need to know.

warner“We just concluded the first shutdown of the federal government in nearly 20 years. Abruptly closing and opening the world’s largest enterprise was completely irresponsible, and there are some indications it caused unnecessary hardship across our economy,” Warner wrote in a letter to the U.S. Government Accountability Office, in which Warner asked the GAO to produce a report assessing the overall fiscal impacts of the recent 16-day federal government shutdown.

Warner, the chairman of the U.S. Senate Budget Committee’s bipartisan Government Performance Task Force, is asking the GAO to examine the impacts of the shutdown on the overall U.S. economy, the federal workforce, federal agency operations and services, state and local governments, federal contractors and other private-sector businesses, as well as lost tax and fee revenues.

“I heard directly from many Virginians negatively impacted by the shutdown. I heard from countless federal employees and small businesses across the Commonwealth of Virginia who faced undue hardship for no good reason due to the 16-day shutdown.  These stories included problems with getting goods to market using our nation’s infrastructure network and exporting valuable commodities out of the Port of Virginia,” Warner said.

With the compromise that ended the shutdown being a compromise that merely kicked the can for another possible game of political brinksmanship a couple of months down the road, it might help all involved to know what another shutdown might cost.

The 27-day shutdown in 1995-1996 cost an estimated $1.4 billion, according to the Office of Management and Budget.

“The best way to prevent another unnecessary shutdown is to better understand how this irresponsible action fully impacted our economy,” Warner said.

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