WASHINGTON – American Federation of Government Employees National President J. David Cox Sr. issued the following statement in response to the report issued today by the Office of Management and Budget regarding the impacts and costs of the government shutdown:
“OMB has summarized in striking detail the detrimental consequences of shutting down the government for 16 days last month. The economic impact is significant: between $2 billion and $6 billion in lost output for the fourth quarter and 120,000 fewer private-sector jobs created during the first two weeks of October.
“The personal impact on millions of Americans is extensive. The shutdown kept federal agencies from processing loan applications for home buyers and small business owners. About 1,400 military service members were denied transition assistance to help them find civilian jobs. Hundreds of cancer patients were prevented from enrolling in NIH clinical trials. OSHA suspended nearly 1,400 federal inspections to prevent workplace fatalities and injuries – vital work that will never be fully made up.
“Federal employees bore the largest direct cost of the shutdown. About 850,000 employees were furloughed for a combined total of 6.6 million work days, more than any previous government shutdown. OMB calculates the cost to taxpayers for this lost productivity at $2.1 billion. The furloughs came on top of an unprecedented three-year pay freeze, increases to retirement contributions and the loss of six days’ wages due to the sequestration-related furloughs this summer. Employees are frustrated at being made the sacrificial lamb of deficit reduction, and as a result the federal government is becoming a less attractive employer.
“I hope all lawmakers keep a copy of OMB’s report by their side as they engage in other budget debates. They all need to remember that putting vital government services at risk to score political points is a costly exercise that has ruinous consequences for our government and the country.”