The federal employees in the United States reported back to work on Monday as the government decided to end the longest shutdown in the US history. That came after the Congress and the Trump administration made an agreement to temporarily fund the government without paying money for the border wall between US and Mexico as the effects of the shutdown across the country intensified.
An independent survey conducted by the Congressional budget office pegged the cost of the shutdown on the US economy to be about a loss of US $3 billion as about 800,000 employees return to work after 35 days of no pay. This also made the US economy smaller by 0.02% than expected in the current year. Apart from that dent in the economy, there were major effects on workers and individual businesses who had to make ends meet without pay. The budget office added that the total loss to the economy was about $11 billion during the time the government didn’t function. About $8 billion is expected to be recovered once the employees get their paycheck.
The US President had earlier asked the Congress to fund $5.7 billion to build a wall in the US-Mexico border to stop the smuggling of drugs and human trafficking, but the Democrats were against funding this costly affair. On Sunday, Trump said that he is ready to close the government again if the deal made by the Republican and Democrat lawmakers on border security is not acceptable to him. He said that he is ready even to declare a national emergency to get the funds he needs to build the wall. The lawmakers have to make a compromise before the 15 Feb deadline.
Back to work
The back wages will most likely be paid by Thursday which is estimated to be about $6 billion. Many contractors and businesses which depended on the federal business faced losses; lawmakers are trying to push for legislation that will payback contractors too. Meanwhile, the employees are relieved as they head out to work. In Washington, the Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission Ajit Pai warmly greeted the employees. The Securities and Exchange Commission offered free coffee, doughnuts, and fruit. It was back to business for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration as they start a review of 5 weeks of auto safety recalls made by automakers. The National Transportation Safety Board which could not conduct investigations into many air and road accidents were worried that evidence might be lost which could hamper investigations.