"In September, we expected 3% annualized growth in the fourth quarter because we thought politicians would have learned from 2011 and taken steps to avoid things like a government shutdown and the possibility of a sovereign default," ratings agency Standard & Poor's said in a statement Oct. 16, the day the shutdown ended.
Though many lawmakers are calling for spending cuts to reduce the deficit, cutting government spending can hurt the country, George Washington University Law Professor Neil H. Buchanan argues in a 2010 paper. "In the short run, cutting deficit spending can be disastrous to the economy, especially if the economy is already in decline," Buchanan says, especially if those cuts come to those programs that provide long-term benefits to the economy, such as spending on education and infrastructure.
For the Affordable Care Act to work, states must properly promote the program and work with the federal government to ensure compliance of the law, an Oct. 15 Brookings paper says. Partisan politics in each state will play a part in whether the ACA is successful, the paper says, and since states with Democratic governors are more likely to publicize the law, it is likely to be more successful in those states.
The Agriculture Department's subjective eligibility requirements for farm program payments hindered the agency's ability to review whether farmers were compliant with the requirements, a recently released Sept. 26 Government Accountability Office reports says.
With the government up and running again, agencies begin to assess the effects the shutdown had on its workforce and finances. The shutdown cost the Defense Department $600 million in lost productivity due to furloughed civilian workers, DoD Comptroller Robert Hale said in an Oct. 17 press conference. Other costs can't be calculated yet, Hale said.
With his usual flair for the dramatic, Rep. Darrell Issa lambasted the head of the National Parks Service for turning military vets away from national parks during the shutdown calling it a sign that the director doesn't care about keeping the parks open and serving the public.
As federal workers report back to their offices this morning, it's uncertain how long it will take to get operations back to normal. The government hasn't had to reopen in 17 years and with technological advances along with each agency facing specific issues there isn't a governmentwide guideline to get everyone up and running quickly.
"It's hard to believe that what has happened was not the result of economic crisis, not the result of a war, but was a self-inflicted wound by people who frankly swear to make sure that they will do everything to protect and defend the Constitution of this country and this country," said Former Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta.
The Office of Management and Budget notified (.pdf) federal workers should return to work Thursday and begin the process of reopening offices. The bill (H.R. 2775) overwhelmingly passed the Senate 81-18 and the House. Every Democrat in both chambers voted for the bill. Just 87 Republican House members supported the bill.
The Veterans Affairs Department will decide all status protests for Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Businesses and Veteran-Owned Small Businesses and not cede control to the Small Business Administration, a Sept. 31 interim rule says. The VA's director of the Center for Veterans Enterprise will initially adjudicate all SDVOSB and VOSB status protests, but those businesses can appeal to the VA's executive director of small and disadvantaged business utilization, the rule says.
The deal will fund the government through Jan. 15 and allow the government to incur additional debt until Feb. 7, reports the New York Times. Speaking on the Senate floor, Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said members had reached "a historic bipartisan agreement." He added, "It's never easy for two sides to reach consensus...This time was really hard."
Research at some Energy Department's national laboratories continues, but will be halted if the government shutdown continues. The DOE runs 18 laboratories that are federally funded, but managed and staffed by private-sector organizations under contract with the agency.
The government shutdown, now in its third week, has had considerable impacts on the world of science, beyond the science activities that federal agencies perform themselves. FierceGovernment spoke with Matt Hourihan of the American Association for the Advancement of Science about the challenges facing scientists and researchers as a result of the shutdown and the overall fiscal climate.
After House Republican leadership made another failed attempt to pass their own bill, Senate leaders on both sides met again to come up with a plan to reopen the government and raise the debt limit. The Senate plan would set funding at $986 billion and reopen the government until Jan. 15, Politico reports. The debt ceiling would be raised until Feb. 7 and a formal bicameral conference committee would have until Dec. 13 to negotiate a larger-scale budget deal.
Arizona, Colorado, New York, South Dakota and Utah agreed to donate funds to the National Park Service so its employees can reopen and manage nationals parks in those states. Utah committed $1.7 million, by far the most of the five states, to reopen eight national parks in the state from Oct. 11 through Oct. 20.
If sequestration cuts continue, they could devastate military readiness and dramatically slow down modernization spending, an Oct. 11 Bipartisan Policy Center report says. The report says the full brunt of sequestration cuts hasn't hit yet, but sequestration cuts will compromise force readiness.
With the government shutdown moves through day 15, the federal workforce is still in flux and Office of Personnel Management guidance says furloughed workers will not accrue sick leave and vacation during the shutdown.
Senate leaders on both sides reached a deal Monday night to raise the debt limit through Feb. 7 and finance the government through Jan. 15, but House Republicans decided Tuesday morning to push their own bill. The Senate agreement would also begin formal discussions on a long-term tax and spending plan that would need to be finished no later than Dec. 13.
The federal strategic sourcing program advanced Oct. 9 with two solicitations from the General Services Administration for bulk purchases, one for janitorial supplies and the other for maintenance equipment. The two solicitations involve products that cost the government more than $1 billion annually, and GSA estimates that strategic sourcing will reduce their cost by 10-20 percent.
The National Transportation Safety Board furloughed 383 of its 405 workers during the shutdown, which caused it to suspend more than 1,000 investigations, said Acting NTSB Chairwoman Deborah Hersman at an Oct. 11 Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee hearing.