September 29, 2015

Federal Times and Bloomberg BNA interview John Cooney on possibility and impact of government shutdown

2 min

Venable partner John Cooney was interviewed by Federal Times and Bloomberg BNA articles on September 29, 2015 about the possibility and economic impact of a government shutdown. With time running out for Congress and the White House to come to an agreement avoiding a shutdown, the House and Senate are expected to pass a continuing resolution to fund the government through December.

"It is more common than not that there are multiple short-term continuing resolutions passed before the executive branch and the legislative branch determine they are at an impasse," Cooney told Federal Times. He added that whether a shutdown occurs in October or November depends on Congress' willingness to negotiate with the White House. "It's very difficult to know the intensity with which the two branches are discussing matters with each other unless you are in the middle of those negotiations. I never hazard to guess, because it would be just that."

Discussing the strategy that always helps the White House win shutdown battles with Congress in one Bloomberg BNA article, Cooney said, "It was consciously designed to produce this result and it has worked every time it's been tried so far." He added that "it was consciously designed as a weapon that would allow the president to compete with Congress to win the public's support for his approach to the shutdown, and thereby generate good will and public support that he could use in the ultimate negotiations on the big-ticket appropriation items that were at the heart of the impasse between the executive branch and the legislative branch."

In a second Bloomberg BNA article, Cooney discussed the economic impact of a shutdown now that the government is more reliant on private sector contractors than ever. During shorter shutdown, Cooney said, some private employers will continue paying contract staff even though the government will not reimburse them. "But in any kind of longer shutdown, the employers can't afford to pay their workers at a time that the workers are not working," he added. "So there are extensive furloughs in the private sector if there's no other way they can keep people on board."