From TSA to Tax Refunds: Tracking the Impact of the Government Shutdown

(Bloomberg) -- Companies, investors and consumers are increasingly feeling the impact of the partial government shutdown that began Dec. 22. President Donald Trump and Congress remain at an impasse over his demands for border security funding that has halted spending legislation needed to reopen the government. Here’s a running catalog of the shutdown’s ripple effects:

Food Inspections, Drug Reviews at Risk as Shutdown Slows FDA
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration said that a government shutdown prevents it from doing some routine food safety inspections, and that the agency is weeks away from running out of funds it uses to review new drugs and medical products. The agency’s limited food safety inspections would be focused on products like seafood, soft cheeses and unpasteurized juice that are more susceptible to food safety risks, compared to more routine inspections. Unlike the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s slaughterhouse inspectors, who are still on the job unpaid, the FDA performs spot checks in domestic processing facilities, focusing on those with higher risks; they are not keeping watch around-the-clock.

Trump Wants More IPOs. For Now, He Wants the Border Wall More
Softening Rules and enticing more companies to go public have always been President Donald Trump’s top priorities for the Wall Street deals lawyer he picked to run the Securities and Exchange Commission. But the shutdown has put a critical component of the pro-business agenda on hold. As long as the shutdown persists, SEC Chairman Jay Clayton’s agency can’t approve stock sales. Bankers and securities lawyers are already complaining about postponed initial public offerings, and an increasing number of companies are saying the shuttered SEC has forced them to delay plans to raise capital.

Shutdown Delays First Federal Election Commission Meeting of 2019
The Federal Election Commission’s first public meeting of 2019, scheduled for Thursday, was canceled because the commission is one of many federal entities without funding because of the budget impasse. The shutdown prevents new chairman Ellen Weintraub and her fellow commissioners from meeting and voting on campaign finance enforcement cases, regulations, litigation questions and advisory opinions.

Analytics Firm Seeks to Fill Gap in Farm Data Amid Shutdown
As the U.S. government shutdown postpones the Jan. 11 release of monthly market-moving agriculture data, forecasting firms and traders are trying to plug the gap with their own crop estimates. Gro Intelligence, a closely held data and analytics company, will try to fill the void with its own version of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s giant data dump. The agency last week postponed its monthly World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates, or WASDE, because of the shutdown.

Oil Drilling Permits Still Issued Despite Interior Shutdown
The partial U.S. government shutdown has docked fishing boats in Alaska, delayed public meetings on a proposed wind farm off the Massachusetts coast and blocked pharmaceutical companies from seeking approval for new drugs. But the Interior Department is still issuing permits for oil companies to drill wells on federal land and in the Gulf of Mexico. It is also moving forward on oil development in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and other parts of Alaska, going so far as to convene public meetings over whether to allow pipelines and drilling rigs near wetlands that sustain caribou and threatened birds.

IPOs, Wall Street Enforcement at Standstill With SEC Halted
Initial public offerings and normal policing of the securities industry are on hold as the federal government’s partial shutdown drags into a third week. Many Securities and Exchange Commission officials can’t respond to emails or calls. Only a few are able to hold meetings. The agency’s normal back-and-forth with companies on capital raising, enforcement matters, and other issues is at a standstill. Ride-sharing companies Uber Technologies Inc. and Lyft Inc. could face delays in launching their highly anticipated IPOs.

Government Shutdown Sinks Home Sales, Confidence, Realtors Say
The U.S. housing market, already losing steam, is taking another hit from the government shutdown, delaying closings and damaging buyer confidence, according to a National Association of Realtors survey. About 20 percent of 2,211 agents surveyed by the group said they had clients who were impacted in some way, the organization said.

Airports Fretting Over TSA Screener Absences
With screeners already calling in sick in larger-than-normal numbers, U.S. airports are girding for disruptions if the partial government shutdown continues and Transportation Security Administration officers miss their first paycheck. The 51,739 TSA officers, who screen bags and passengers at U.S. airports, are considered essential to security and were ordered to report for duty even though funding for their agency has been halted. In recent days the screeners have called in sick in growing numbers.

Economists Turn to Shutdown-Proof Reports as U.S. Data Delayed
The U.S. government shutdown has thrown some key economic measures into the dark, forcing analysts to focus on alternative data to gauge the effects of a trade war and the pace of growth in recent weeks. “We’re flying blind to a large extent,” said Joshua Shapiro, chief U.S. economist at Maria Fiorini Ramirez Inc. 

IRS Will Pay Refunds During Shutdown, Easing Pressure for a Deal
The Internal Revenue Service will issue refunds to taxpayers even if the U.S. government shutdown extends into the filing season. The move may help taxpayers who file their taxes as soon as the filing season begins to claim refund checks, which averaged $2,899 last year. Within the first week of the 2018 filing season, more than 18.3 million people claimed about $12.6 billion in refunds. The IRS said the filing season would start on Jan. 28 this year.

Trump Faces Pressure From Calendar as Key Deadlines Near
A series of deadlines over the next seven weeks will increase pressure on Trump to cut a deal to end a shutdown that could soon become the longest in history. Workers at nine Cabinet departments and other agencies will soon start to miss paychecks, and the longer the standoff continues, the more consequences Trump and Congress will face -- including shuttered courts, filth piling up in National Parks, and delayed tax refunds.

Shutdown Threatens $200 Million a Day in Federal Contracts
If recent history is any guide, federal contractors could be out more than $200 million a day in lost or delayed revenue from the partial government shutdown, based on data compiled by Bloomberg. The companies run the gamut, from businesses that provide upgrades to flight communications and air traffic systems, to producers of anti-malarial and HIV medicines in Africa, to operators of government cafeterias.

Trade, Factory, USDA Data Delayed as Shutdown Runs to Third Week
Detailed figures showing how the U.S.-China trade war is affecting imports and exports are among economic releases to be delayed this week as the partial government shutdown drags on. The Commerce Department’s release of the international trade report for November is expected to be postponed because the agency is part of the shutdown. The same goes for November factory-orders data and wholesale-trade figures.

USDA Data Delay in Shutdown Hinders Farmers Starting Crop Plans
The U.S. government shutdown means the Department of Agriculture will delay the release of several market-moving reports at a time when farmers make planting decisions for the upcoming season. The USDA’s monthly World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates won’t be released on Jan. 11 as originally planned even if the government resumes operations before then. That’s because of the time needed to gather and analyze data. Other key data sets, including figures on grain stockpiles and winter-wheat seedings, will also be delayed.

New Aircraft, Beers on Hold as Businesses Feel Shutdown Pain
Airlines can’t get permission to add new planes to their fleets. Mortgage lenders aren’t able to verify the income of borrowers. And brewers can’t sell new beers while label approvals are on hold. In ways both small and large, businesses are beginning to feel the bite of the government funding impasse that has shuttered nine major departments, slowing federal reviews of everything from pipelines to mergers.

Courts Run Out of Cash Next Friday. Here’s What Happens Then
Companies that turn to the federal courts to resolve fights with rivals and customers may find themselves in limbo if the government shutdown continues. The system has enough money left over from fees and other sources to run through Jan. 11, according to the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts, which supports the judiciary. After that, nonessential workers at the 94 federal district courts, and at higher courts across the country, may have to stay home even as skeleton crews show up -- without pay -- to handle matters deemed essential under U.S. law, including many criminal cases.

U.S. Government Shutdown Impact Reaches Far From Capitol (Map)
If you think the federal government shutdown impacts only the Washington area, you may not have to stroll far from your neighborhood to see the size and scope of federal government footprint. While the D.C. metro area tops the nation in GSA-leased square footage with over 50 million square feet of leased office and warehouse space the GSA inventory extends to over 700 metro locations across the U.S. and its territories.

Farmers Fear Another Hit as Trump Shutdown Threatens Ethanol Vow
The government shutdown that Trump says could last "a long time" without funding for a border wall may hurt farmers by delaying the administration’s ability to steer through the approval for year-round sales of a 15 percent ethanol blend for gasoline before the summer begins. That’s up from 10 percent allowed now.

White House Says Shutdown Trims 0.1% From GDP Every Two Weeks
The ongoing partial government shutdown will cut U.S. economic output by about 0.1 percent every two weeks, the chairman of the White House Council of Economic Advisers said. “Our estimate is that GDP in the first quarter could go down by about a tenth if this were to resolve in the next few weeks,” CEA Chairman Kevin Hassett said.

Shutdown Shuts Out Couples Getting Married in Washington, D.C.
Couples hoping kick off the new year by getting married in Washington will have to make other plans. The government shutdown has shuttered the city’s Marriage Bureau.

Commodities Traders in the Dark Without U.S. Government Data
Commodities traders will confront increasing challenges to get market information as the the partial U.S. government continues. The U.S. Department of Agriculture is releasing some reports, but not all. The Energy Information Administration is funded through September and continuing to release weekly figures on oil and gas stockpiles and monthly production numbers. But the Commodity Futures Trading Commission has stopped releasing its weekly Commitments of Traders reports, which track managed money across oil, agriculture and metals markets.

U.S. Shutdown Leaves Grain Traders With Nothing But ‘Hearsay’
As the partial U.S. government shutdown continues, the lack of data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture is sending market participants to Twitter and other sources to gather crop information. Most of the department’s key reports -- including figures on export sales -- have been halted.

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