US President Donald Trump had demanded that legislation to fund the government contain $5.7 billion for his long-promised wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. Photo: AP
US President Donald Trump had demanded that legislation to fund the government contain $5.7 billion for his long-promised wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. Photo: AP

US shutdown costs pegged at $3 billion as government reopens

  • US shutdown ended on Friday when Trump and Congress agreed to temporary government funding as the effects of the shutdown intensified across the country
  • Overall, the US economy lost about $11 billion during the five-week period, CBO said

Washington: The U.S. economy was expected to lose $3 billion from the partial federal government shutdown over President Donald Trump's demand for border wall funding, congressional researchers said on Monday as 800,000 federal employees returned to work after a 35-day unpaid furlough.

The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) said the cost of the shutdown will make the U.S. economy 0.02 percent smaller than expected in 2019. More significant effects will be felt by individual businesses and workers, particularly those who went without pay.

Overall, the U.S. economy lost about $11 billion during the five-week period, CBO said. However, CBO expects $8 billion to be recovered as the government reopens and employees receive back pay.

The longest shutdown in U.S. history ended on Friday when Trump and Congress agreed to temporary government funding - without money for his wall - as the effects of the shutdown intensified across the country.

Republican Trump had demanded that legislation to fund the government contain $5.7 billion for his long-promised wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. He says it is necessary to stop illegal immigration, human trafficking and drug smuggling, while Democrats call it costly and inefficient.

A committee of Republican and Democratic lawmakers have scheduled an initial meeting on Wednesday, which will be open to the public, as they try to negotiate a compromise on border security before the February 15 deadline.

That session is likely to see little more than opening statements by lawmakers. Subsequent meetings could be conducted in private, where the hard bargaining would take place, several congressional aides said.

Also, because of rules governing legislation in the House of Representatives requiring a 72-hour period for lawmakers to review legislation before having to vote on it, this "conference committee" might have to wrap up its work by around Feb. 10 in order to meet a February 15 deadline for congressional approval.

Trump said he would be willing to shut down the government again if lawmakers do not reach a deal he finds acceptable on border security. On Sunday, he expressed scepticism such an deal could be made, putting the odds at 50-50.

Trump has also said he might declare a national emergency to get money for the border wall. Democrats would likely challenge that in court.

The CBO report serves as a stark warning to Trump against another shutdown, Democratic lawmakers said.

"Families across the nation are still trying to recover from a month of missing paychecks and overdue bills, but the president is already threatening a second shutdown if he doesn't get his way," House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said.

Most employees should be paid by Thursday for back pay, which one study estimated at $6 billion for all those furloughed. Contractors and businesses that relied on federal workers' business, however, face huge losses, although some lawmakers are pushing legislation to pay contractors back as well.

Federal workers poured off of Washington's public transportation on Monday. Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai greeted employees in the lobby, while the Securities and Exchange Commission offered doughnuts, fruit and coffee.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration was reviewing five weeks of auto safety recalls that had been submitted by automakers, but has not yet begun posting them publicly.

This story has been published from a wire agency feed without modifications to the text.

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