Government Shutdown Costs Nation $11 billion

February 19, 2019
Contributed Columns

For 35 days, thousands of hardworking Arizonans – park rangers, border patrol and prison agents, and scientists – went without their paychecks. Across the country, private businesses suffered, national parks were irreparably damaged, and air travel was threatened. All for a dispute over the merits of a policy proposal.

This is not how governing works.

During the shutdown, I requested a report from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office on the economic impact of this government gridlock. I wanted to know how much this reckless partisanship cost the American people, and the analysis was troubling. Our country lost $11 billion over the course of the shutdown. Of that, $3 billion is permanently lost. It is difficult to quantify the monetary impact it had on businesses, so the analysis is incomplete. The direct consequences the shutdown had on our communities are likely far worse than we will ever know. This is a shame, and it should never happen in the greatest country in the world.

During the shutdown my office received calls, emails, and letters from concerned Arizonans who were being used as a bargaining chip by this Administration. They did not know how they would put food on the table or pay their bills; many of them found part-time work and second jobs just to make ends meet. While they struggled, politicians in Washington dismissed their concerns on national television. The hardworking people in my district, and across the country, deserve better.

I do not want to ever see another government shutdown, especially a politically motivated one. We should be passing a bipartisan budget on time every single year, and if we cannot do that, Congress should not be paid. Since being elected to the House of Representatives, I have cosponsored No Budget, No Pay legislation and introduced bills to hold elected leaders accountable if they do not do their job. The first bill I introduced this year is the bipartisan Government Shutdown Impact Report of 2019, which requires the Congressional Budget Office to compile a daily report on the cost of an ongoing shutdown to our economy.

The American people deserve to know the cost of partisan gridlock, and their elected officials must be held responsible for their inaction. I want to hear your thoughts on this issue, and any other issues that are impacting your community and region. Our massive district faces diverse challenges, and I believe that they can be addressed through bipartisan, deliberative action. My office is open to you, and my staff hold regular office hours in rural communities that are not near my district offices in Flagstaff, Casa Grande, and Northwest Tucson. I will also be holding regular town hall meetings throughout the district. You can stay updated on those events by following me on social media and subscribing to my e-newsletter.