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Washington's gridlock impact on Cleveland

With Congress and the Administration unable to reach a weekend agreement on the federal government shutdown and increasing the nation’s debt ceiling, expect to see continued brinksmanship in Washington, DC.

In the Senate, leaders continued negotiations over the weekend with the latest sticking point being the continued implementation of sequester spending levels if the government is reopened. In the House, leaders were unable to find agreement either and are expected to wait for the Senate to act prior to coming back to session this evening.

Senate negotiations are likely to focus on what level of funding to include in the Continuing Resolution, as well as its length funding. Senate Democrats had been willing to accept a $986 billion level in any stopgap plan, which includes the first year of sequestration but only for a relatively short period of time and with no extraneous policy riders.

Republicans, however, have been pushing for at least a six-month extension of current spending that would allow for the second year of sequester to kick-in, which would lower spending to $967 billion annually.

While the Greater Cleveland Partnership continues to track the activities in Washington, the organization remains concerned about the long term economic implications of the shutdown and the debt ceiling debate to the region and the overall economy. As described in our 2013/2014 Public Policy Agenda, we are fully aware of the importance of our civic assets such as NASA Glenn Research Center and the Defense Finance and Accounting Services.

As the shutdown enters its third week, we are reminded that:

  • NASA Glenn Research Center employs over 1,600 civil servants and another 1,600 contract employee positions who have been, or are expected to be, laid off by their employers in the coming weeks; The Center’s annual economic impact to Ohio is more than $1.3 billion.

  • Defense Finance and Accounting Service (DFAS), an organization GCP fought to expand in Cleveland, has over 2,300 local employees and an annual economic impact to Ohio of over $300 million. The number of employees to be laid off is expected to increase with a prolonged shutdown.

  • The United States Coast Guard Ninth District, headquartered in Cleveland, has over 500 employees in the region and contributes over $100 million to Ohio’s economy. The number of employees impacted at this time is undetermined.

  • Many other federal agencies, such as the Minority Business Development Agency Business Center Cleveland, headquartered at GCP, the U.S. Small Business Administration and the International Trade Services Center-Cleveland, have been impacted as well.