Akunna Cook, Executive Director of the Black Economic Alliance – a nonpartisan political group focused on Black economic progress – issued the following statement today regarding the continuing government shutdown:
“With no resolution yesterday on a government shutdown that has forced 800,000 federal workers to go without pay for an unprecedented five weeks – and experts predicting dire longer-term consequences for our economy – the Black Economic Alliance calls on the Administration to reopen the federal government and stop holding federal workers and our economy hostage.
“Federal workers are already owed more than $5 billion in backpay, and every day the federal government remains closed, our communities suffer compounding economic challenges that will far outlast the shutdown. Currently, the Administration’s Council of Economic Advisors has estimated each week the shutdown continues will slow economic growth by 0.13 percentage points (more than double its original projections), and Standard and Poor’s has set the overall cost at $7.1 billion in lost value if the shutdown is permitted to continue even one more week.
“As an alliance of business leaders committed to Black economic progress, we are particularly concerned by the negative effects of this shutdown on Black communities. The prolonged loss of income – including forced work without pay – poses significant hardships for federal workers, including Black employees from communities still struggling to overcome generations of systemic exclusion from economic opportunity. We fear this shutdown will only worsen racial economic inequality and inflict long-lasting harm on the U.S. economy.
“We join with the many elected political leaders and the growing number of business leaders concerned about the impact of the longest shutdown in our nation’s history in urging the Administration to reopen the government and come to the table to negotiate on the important issue of border security without further harming the individual interests of the American citizens who serve us as federal employees.”