Shutdown Roundup: NTSB Isn't Investigating Accidents, Warren Warns of Decreased Financial Investigations and More
A safety board spokeswoman said the shutdown is affecting the agency's work.
As American taxpayers pay $1,001 each second for feds not to work, there is no end to the partial shutdown in sight. The Senate rejected two bills on Thursday that would have reopened the government and our Erich Wagner reported that the government is paying furloughed federal employees $86,511,584.90 each day to stay home.
At GovExec, we can't report on all aspects of the shutdown. Here is a roundup of a few story lines from reporting in other news outlets.
The National Transportation Safety Board announced on Thursday that it has not been able to investigate 87 aircraft, automotive, marine and rail accidents since the shutdown began, CNN reported. The agency has 397 employees with 365 furloughed, leaving a skeleton staff. "Important evidence is being lost that we would normally examine following an accident," said Dolline Hatchett, an NTSB spokeswoman. "And this evidence could potentially support safety recommendations, that once adopted, could prevent future accidents and save countless lives." Read more at CNN.
Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., sent letters to to the chairs of the Federal Reserve, Securities and Exchange Commission and Commodity Futures Trading Commission outlining her concerns that financial regulators are hamstrung by the shutdown. Warren wrote to SEC chair Jay Clayton that she was aware of one lawyer representing a client before the SEC who said that malfeasance is more likely because "the pressure is off a little bit" and that SEC investigations have "slowed to a trickle." Warren's letters also had questions for the agencies about their preparation for the financial investigation backlog when the shutdown ends and requested information about any protections the agencies will take to buoy the economy in the shutdown's aftermath. Read Warren's letters on her site.
Two former top Coast Guard officials wrote an op-ed Thursday that said they are "ashamed" of Congress because of all the USCG members working without pay or benefits during the shutdown. Steven Cantrell, the 12th master chief petty officer of the Coast Guard for four years, and Leilani Cale-Jones, who served as his deputy, wrote on Military.com of the sacrifices USCG members have had to endure during the shutdown and noted the "fear for the feeling of helplessness that each of those women and men and their families must feel in light of complete uncertainty." Cantrell and Cale-Jones also wrote of their admiration for those working without pay. "These patriots do not carry out the missions of the U.S. Coast Guard protecting and defending our great country to get rich," they wrote. "But they have the right to expect to be paid as entitled and when due as anyone else would." Read more at Military.com.
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce released data this week indicating the shutdown is having a significant adverse effect on small businesses, according to our sibling site Nextgov. Neil Bradley, executive vice president and chief policy officer at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, said that small government contractors have lost more $2.3 billion in revenue so far and that the number will increase the longer the shutdown continues. “The current shutdown–now the longest in American history–is causing significant and in some cases lasting damage to families, businesses, and the economy as a whole. The harm is well-documented and continues to compound with each passing day,” reads a Chamber of Commerce letter that was delivered to congressional leaders and the White House. Read more at Nextgov.