Shutdown Roundup: WH Adviser Compares Shutdown to 'Vacation,' Canadian ATCs Send U.S. Counterparts Food and More
Kevin Hassett told PBS that "in some sense, [furloughed feds] are better off."
The partial government shutdown is heading into its fourth week and has, as of Saturday, officially become the longest appropriations lapse in modern history. The legality of forcing feds to work without pay is being challenged in lawsuits, but meanwhile hundreds of thousands of feds continue to work.
At GovExec, we can't report on all aspects of the shutdown. Here is a roundup of a few story lines in other news outlets.
White House economic adviser Kevin Hassett spoke to PBS Newshour last week about his role in the administration and was asked about the shutdown affecting federal employees. Hassett said that feds are "better off" in some ways because of the shutdown, comparing the shutdown to a surprise vacation for feds.
A huge share of government workers were going to take vacation days, say, between Christmas and New Year's. And then we have a shutdown, and so they can't go to work, and so then they have the vacation, but they don't have to use their vacation days.
Hassett also said that most Americans will not see a long-term economic effect on the economy from the shutdown. Watch Hassett's interview or read the transcript at PBS Newshour.
Economic experts other than Hassett have warned that the shutdown will stifle American economic growth in the medium and long term. NBC News spoke to economic analysts who said a shutdown lasting months would be a doomsday scenario and that even the current situation is a "no-man's land." NBC noted as one example that the National Park Service is losing $400,000 a day in entrance fees. Loss of SNAP benefits could result in the economy losing more than $100 billion in direct and indirect spending over a year. This could cut a full percentage point off U.S. economic growth, one economist told NBC. Read more or register on NBC News.
President Donald Trump is scheduled to give his State of the Union address on Jan. 29 and White House aides are preparing the speech as if the shutdown will be ongoing into February, according to a report in The Wall Street Journal. Administration officials told the paper that they are working on a speech that will have Trump "admonish lawmakers for a shutdown." A White House official also said that the administration has “no date in mind” for an end to the standoff. Read more at The Wall Street Journal.
More than 15,000 American air traffic controllers are among those working without pay and some of their Canadian counterparts sent food to help alleviate the shutdown pain. According to the CBC, Canadian Air Traffic Control Association units in the Atlantic Canadian communities of Gander, Newfoundland and Labrador, and Moncton, New Brunswick, sent over 32 pizzas to a control center on Long Island. The Minneapolis Air Route Traffic Control Center also received pizza from the Winnipeg Area Control Centre. HuffPost Canada reported that Montreal Centre sent Boston Center pizza, Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport sent pizza to Burlington, Vt., and LaGuardia, and the Vancouver CATCA branch sent lunch to ATCs in Seattle. CATCA chief Peter Duffey said that "this was something that the members did on their own… I'm so proud of the men and women in my association for what they've done." Read more at CBC and HuffPost Canada.