OMB: 16-Day Shutdown Caused 'Greater Appreciation' for What Government Does

By Susan Jones | November 11, 2013 | 7:52 AM EST

A sign is posted on a barricade in front of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, Tuesday, Oct. 1, 2013. (Carolyn Kaster/AP)

( – Last month’s government shutdown passed unnoticed by many Americans, but not by the White House Office of Management and Budget, which recently released a report on the shutdown’s adverse “impacts and costs.”

“I think one thing that did come out of the shutdown is a greater appreciation for a number of things that the government did,” OMB Director Sylvia Mathews Burwell told reporters in a conference call last Thursday.

Did OMB do the analysis because it thinks the shutdown’s effects “were under-appreciated?” a  Reuters reporter asked Burwell.  "The country kept on running. People, you know, did what they normally did." The reporter asked Burwell if OMB’s analysis of the shutdown was intended to make the point “that this was very damaging?”

Burwell said OMB did its analysis of the shutdown at the request of Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.).

“A similar analysis was done after the shutdowns in 1995 and 1996,” she said. “And so, in terms of the follow-up and closing out the issues of shutdown, we believed it was important to have in one place the articulated impact…

“You mentioned the question of was it not appreciated enough, and is that the reason that we're doing it? I would say no,” Burwell said. “I think one thing that did come out of the shutdown is a greater appreciation for a number of things that the government did.

“And many of the stories that you all wrote and that we saw on a daily basis helped people -- people did understand some of the things that in their daily lives were being interrupted -- whether those were economic interruptions in the terms of loans, like SBA loans that couldn't go forward, or those were personal interruptions, such as people who were not afforded the opportunity to enter into NIH trials.”

According to the OMB’s analysis, “The October 2013 Federal government shutdown was the second longest since 1980 and the most significant on record, measured in terms of employee furlough days.”

The report examines the economic disruption, the cost of federal furloughs, and other direct costs to the federal budget, Burwell said.

No adverse impact is too minor to mention. The report even talks about delays in the Alaskan crab-fishing season.