Posts tagged with "Partial government shutdown"

Writing on the wall: CBO report estimates that government shutdown will cost $3 billion

January 29, 2019

President Donald Trump already has spent about $3 billion of the $5.7 billion he demanded for “the wall” at the U.S.-Mexico border when he shut the government down in late December.

Indeed, the partial government shutdown that ended on January 25 will cost the government about $3 billion and will subtract about 0.4 percentage points from annualized gross domestic product growth in the first quarter, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office said Monday, according to a report by The Wall Street Journal.

In new estimates of the shutdown’s impact, the CBO said the shutdown dampened economic activity—mainly because of the roughly 380,000 furloughed workers who weren’t contributing to GDP, as well as the delay in federal spending on goods and services and the reduction in aggregate demand.

CBO estimates that the five-week, 35-day shutdown delayed approximately $18 billion in federal discretionary spending for compensation and purchases of goods and services and suspended some federal services.

The estimates (which the CBO cautioned are just that, according to the Journal report) don’t incorporate other indirect negative effects of the shutdown, such as businesses that couldn’t obtain federal permits or access loans while the government was partially closed.

“Such factors were probably beginning to lead firms to postpone investment and hiring decisions,” the CBO said, adding that risks to the economy were becoming increasingly significant as the shutdown continued.

Kevin Hassett, the chairman of the White House Council of Economic Advisers, said on January 23 that the U.S. economy might not grow at all in the first quarter if the shutdown continued through March. But he added that the economy should recover any lost ground once the government reopened.

President Trump already has said that the reopening may be temporary—and has pegged it at three weeks—after which he will reassess the situation regarding border security.

Research contact: kate.davidson@wsj.com

Up against the wall: DOJ seeks eminent domain for barrier in Texas, but postpones asylum cases

January 22, 2019

Thirty-one days and counting into the partial government shutdown, President Donald Trump still is hitting a brick wall in his demands for Congress to approve his $5.7 billion budget for a “barrier” on the U.S.-Mexico border.

But, Vox reports, that hasn’t stopped Justice Department attorneys from working to seize private land for the barrier by eminent domain, even as they have to postpone most other lawsuits due to the shutdown. Government attorneys even filed a new case in January, after the shutdown began.

And all of this is happening, even after DOJ instructed federal attorneys to postpone any lawsuits that weren’t necessary to safeguard “the safety of human life or the protection of property” until the shutdown was over. The Trump administration has even put cases on hold that it previously has argued are essential to national security, the news outlet says—including the lawsuit over its asylum ban, which has been put on hold by a federal judge in California.

Indeed, the news outlet reports, land condemnation cases in the Southern District of Texas, where the Trump administration has declared its interest in building 104 miles of bollard fencing, are still “chugging along.”

The Texas Civil Rights Project is representing defendants in two active eminent domain cases to date—with a third coming up soon and many more in the works—and has seen no evidence of a shutdown delay.

In a hearing on a government lawsuit over a tiny, tent-of-an-acre parcel, Judge Micaela Alvarez noted that “even with the shutdown, I understand that the attorneys handling these matters on behalf of the Government are not being furloughed and they still have to appear.” The attorney for the Southern District of Texas confirmed it: “This is all I’m allowed to work on.”

It has been more than ten days since the Department of Justice has received funding from Congress, Vox points out. Since then, the agency has been allowed by law only to do certain things— either activities that don’t require funding from Congress or actions that are essential to the functioning of government or the protection of human life or property.

Lawsuits from immigrants seeking habeas corpus petitions to be released from detention have been delayed for the shutdown. So has ongoing litigation in the separation of families at the U.S.-Mexico border.

Research contact: Dara Linddara@vox.com

Trump: Federal workers who are ‘not getting paid’ are Democrats

December 28, 2018

On December 27, President Donald Trump resumed his feud with Democrats on Capitol Hill over $5 billion in funding for a border wall—claiming, according to a report by The Hill, that most of the hundreds of thousands of federal employees who have been furloughed or forced to work without pay due to a partial government shutdown are Democrats.

“Have the Democrats finally realized that we desperately need Border Security and a Wall on the Southern Border. Need to stop Drugs, Human Trafficking, Gang Members & Criminals from coming into our Country,” Trump tweeted at 7:06 a.m. “Do the Dems realize that most of the people not getting paid are Democrats?” he added.

Why the president made that claim is anybody’s guess, but—since he has not hired replacements for the staff who worked in federal agencies during President Barack Obama’s term—perhaps he believes that those who remain on the payroll are Democrats.

The border wall has been the focal point of government funding negotiations between Capitol Hill and the White House. However, Democrats in both houses remain staunch in their opposition to funding the wall, with Speaker-designate Nancy Pelosi (D-California) calling it a “nonstarter.”

In early December, the Democrats pitched Trump $1.3 billion for border “security,” but the president—immediately facing pressure from conservative pundits—declared he would not accept that offer. Then, during a trip to visit U.S. troops in Iraq on December 26, he doubled down, demanding that Democrats pay a $5 billion bottom line that had never been promised.

“Whatever it takes. We need a wall. We need safety for our country. Even from this standpoint. We have terrorists coming in through the southern border,” he told reporters.

In a sign that the two sides are not yet close to reaching a compromise, House Majority Whip Steve Scalise’s (R-Louisiana) office told The Hill on December 26 that no votes in the House were expected the next day and that members would receive 24 hours’ notice of when they needed to return to Washington, D.C.

Democrats will have significantly more leverage in negotiations come January 3, when the party officially takes control of the House.

Research contact: @talstales