CBO: Government shutdown cost $11 billion, bipartisan bill to protect Mueller report,...

CBO: Government shutdown cost $11 billion, bipartisan bill to protect Mueller report, SOTU on Feb. 5

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President Donald Trump enters the House chamber for the State of the Union 2018, (Photo by Doug Christian)
President Donald Trump, shown entering the House chamber to deliver the State of the Union address on Jan. 30, 2018, has been invited by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to deliver an address on Feb. 5. (Doug Christian/TMN)

ON THE HILL WITH DOUG CHRISTIAN

CAPITOL HILL – Congress is back to work after the longest government shutdown in history. Lawmakers on both sides are determined to make sure there is not a repeat shutdown after the continuing resolution (CR) for temporary funding expires February 15th.

The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office released a report Monday saying that the shutdown took an $11 billion hit to the economy with $3 billion of that unrecoverable.

The report says,

“In CBO’s estimation, the shutdown dampened economic activity mainly because of the loss of furloughed federal workers’ contribution to GDP, the delay in federal spending on goods and services, and the reduction in aggregate demand.”

Another looming fight on Capitol Hill is whether the report led by Special Counsel Robert Mueller III on Russian interference into the 2016 presidential election will be released to the public. A bipartisan pair of senators, Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), a Democrat from Connecticut and Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), a Republican from Iowa, both members of the Senate Judiciary Committee, introduced legislation Monday that would require a finished or unfinished report (in case a special counsel is fired) to be handed over to Congress from the Department of Justice.

Senator Blumenthal issued a statement saying, “A Special Counsel is appointed only in very rare serious circumstances involving grave violations of public trust. The public has a right and need to know the facts of such betrayals of public trust.”

Senator Grassley added that requiring a public report would provide “oversight [by Congress] of and insight into activities” of a probe by a special counsel.

Looking forward, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi sent a formal invitation to President Donald Trump to deliver the State of the Union on February 5th. The President accepted.

Doug Christian, Capitol Hill

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