Impacts of the 2013 Government Shutdown

October 11, 2013

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Chairman John D. (Jay) Rockefeller IV released a report titled, “Impacts of the 2013 Government Shutdown” – a snapshot of the impacts of the government shutdown to the public and the U.S. economy. The report was released during the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation hearing titled, “The Impacts of the Government Shutdown on Our Economic Security,” on Friday, October 11, 2013 at 1:00 p.m.

Read the report here.

Background: 

Almost two weeks after the shutdown, it is painfully apparent how the massive gap in important services that our government regularly provides is hurting the economy and businesses, and threatening the safety of our families. The Chairman's report takes a close look at several agencies this Committee oversees and provides specific details on programs that have come to a halt, and the implications of the lapse. 

For example, according the Chairman's report:

  • With the holiday season just weeks away, consumers should be aware that the safety of children’s toys may not be guaranteed by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). All CPSC port inspectors in the field have been furloughed, preventing the CPSC from screening products at ports of entry. CPSC port investigators annually screen thousands of product shipments and prevent millions of potentially dangerous product units from reaching store shelves – including children’s products containing excessive lead content and sleepwear that violates flammability standards. 
  • The travelling public will have to wait longer for the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to finish important safety and modernization updates. The FAA has halted the development, operational testing, and evaluation of technologies and safety standards for NextGen – the agency’s program to modernize the air traffic control system and make the National Airspace System safer and more efficient.
  • Services that are the lifeblood to small businesses are on hold, including those performed by the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), and they are having a serious impact on the economic livelihood of independent fishermen. The NMFS determines fishing quotas and permit approvals that are pre-requisites for the beginning of fishing seasons across the country. Furloughs of NMFS biologists who perform these functions threaten to delay and truncate the lucrative king crab fisheries season in Alaska and Washington. The season was set to start on October 15 and typically lasts between one to two months.
  • Investigations regularly performed by The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) are not occurring. When federal investigators are unable to examine transportation accidents, they are prevented from compiling information about mistakes that can contribute to making transportation systems safer. Moreover, the agencies have no way of completing routine investigations of crashes, including to inspect the recent Tesla Model S that experienced a battery fire on October 1.

The report also points out that the shutdown has highlighted the leading role of federal government services to the safety and economic security of our nation, and the critical importance of federal investments in research and development that have long helped spur innovation in the U.S.

In October, Rockefeller noted that further delays in reopening the government will only do more harm to our fragile economy, and continue to jeopardize the safety of our communities and families. Since the shutdown started, the Chairman has been calling for Speaker Boehner to bring a clean CR to the floor.

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