Industry Market Trends

NAM: Congress 'Prioritizes Gridlock Over Competitiveness'

Oct 01, 2013

Congress' move to force a federal government shutdown drew a sharp rebuke from the nation's largest manufacturing trade organization, which labeled the situation "a clear message of dysfunction." 

National Association of Manufacturers Senior Vice President of Policy and Government Relations Aric Newhouse lambasted Congress for failing to pass a continuing resolution to fund the government and for neglecting to repeal the medical device tax.

"The government shutdown sends the disturbing signal to manufacturers and their employees that gridlock and partisanship are winning the day in Washington over a pro-growth and pro-jobs agenda," he said in a statement. "Regrettably, Congress also missed a rare opportunity to repeal a damaging tax on the medical device industry that, if it is not reversed soon, will cause irreparable harm to a critical sector that employs more than 400,000 people in the United States."

Government agencies began to temporarily close facilities and suspend services on Tuesday morning just hours after legislators reached a budget impasse in the face of Republican attacks on President Obama's health care law. More than 800,000 employees in the government's workforce of about 2.9 million were sent home after a half-day of preparation today.

Within minutes of the shutdown, both Democrats and Republicans began trade barbs and firing blame across the aisle. "Government is closed, because of the irrationality of what is going on on the other side of the Capitol," Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said earlier today, according to CBS News.

Brian Kessler, an economist with Moody's Analytics, told CNN his firm estimates a three- to four-week shutdown would cost the economy about $55 billion.

NAM criticized lawmakers for forcing the shutdown, which will inevitably damage economic recovery.

"Policymakers were elected to advance America's competitiveness and create an environment that encourages job growth," Newhouse said. "A shutdown is failure to meet that challenge and sends a clear message of dysfunction not just to manufacturers, but to the world."