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.
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.
Compared to other departments--Commerce, for example--Homeland Security saw a relatively small proportion of its overall workforce furloughed during the past three weeks of involuntary government shutdown. While some offices, particularly at the headquarters level, saw nearly all their personnel driven away by lack of congressional funding, many major components got by with only around a fifth of their workers sent home.
Hours into the first workday in nearly three weeks of full funding for federal agencies by Congress, many agencies are scrambling to restore internal operations and decide how to tackle the backlog of work that accumulated in the interim.
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.
"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 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.