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Progress North Carolina Action today called on the Tea Party to pay back the $24 billion that the needless government shutdown cost our national economy. Perhaps Congressman Mark Meadows can start by passing the hat amongst the Koch Brothers, Heritage Action, Freedom Works, Ted Cruz and Meadows' original 80 supporters in the U.S. House.
Standard & Poor's calculated that the shutdown took $24 billion out of the economy. The S&P wrote, "The bottom line is the government shutdown has hurt the U.S. economy. In September, we expected 3% annualized growth in the fourth quarter because we thought politicians would have learned from 2011 and taken steps to avoid things like a government shutdown and the possibility of a sovereign default. Since our forecast didn't hold, we now have to lower our fourth-quarter growth estimate to closer to 2%."
While the shutdown was a blow to the national economy, it was even worse for thousands of affected North Carolinians. Among the shutdown's local effects:
Shutting down National Parks and Forests, including Great Smoky Mountains National Park in the midst of peak leaf season. Closure of national parks cost North Carolina an estimated $4.4 million each day.
Thousands of North Carolina workers furloughed, including 7,000 civilians at Fort Bragg, 800 at Camp Lejeune and 300 at Cherry Point, 2,000 at the EPA in RTP, another 1,300 at the National Institute for Environment Health Sciences and 337 at DHHS.
An unnecessary stop in granting WIC benefits to young children and expectant mothers.
An end to processing Work First benefits.
Disrupted benefits to North Carolina's 771,654 veterans.
Progress North Carolina Action also gives a big "Thanks, But No Thanks" to the five other North Carolina Members of Congress who joined Meadows in voting against reopening the government. Apparently, Renee Ellmers, Richard Hudson, Virginia Foxx, Walter Jones and George Holding are OK with an even longer government shutdown.
"Tea Party Republicans accomplished nothing but damage to our economy and their own reputation," said Gerrick Brenner of Progress NC Action. "It's unfortunate that Renee Ellmers did not follow her own advice back in August when she accurately predicted that an attempt to defund Obamacare through a government shutdown would have a 'devastating effect' and result in huge backlash against the Tea Party."
"North Carolina's Tea Party Members of Congress owe our nation an apology—or a really big check."