WH: Shutdown hurt Alaska crab fishing, US exports of beer and wine

Posted by Lesley Clark on November 7, 2013 

The 16-day federal government shutdown cost the U.S. economy between $2 billion and $6 billion in lost output, the White House said Thursday in a report that called the shutdown the "most significant on record" in terms of employee furlough days.

The Office of Management and Budget says that while independent forecasters have pegged the economic costs at between $2 billion and $6 billion, those figures may not fully account for the damage of what it says was the "direct economic disruption that resulted from the shutdown of government services important to the functioning of the private economy."

That included halting permitting and environmental reviews: The Bureau of Land Management was unable to process about 200 drilling applications, the report says, "delaying energy development on federal lands" in several states. And with the Treasury Department's Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau unable to issue export certificates for beer, wine and distilled spirits, "more than 2 million liters of U.S. products were left sitting at ports."

The detailed report says the shutdown even delayed the Alaskan crab fishing season, "costing fishermen thousands of dollars in lost revenue."

Other losses: the National Park Service estimates the shutdown led to $500 million in lost visitor spending nationwide.

The report says federal workers were furloughed for a combined 6.6 million days, $4 billion in tax refunds were delayed and the start of the 2014 tax filing season will be delayed by up to two weeks.

Office of Management and Budget Director Sylvia Mathews Burwell said the report will be shared with Congress and that similar surveys were done after previous government shutdowns.

"We believe it was important to have in one place, the articulated impact," she said.

Republicans were not impressed: "Quick question: Did I miss the conference call on the 'OMB Report on the Impacts and Associated Costs of' Obamacare’s higher premiums, cancelled plans, lost jobs, etc?" Sen. Mitch McConnell’s office asked in an email.

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