The tally was based on a survey of 26 federal agencies but did not include data from some of the largest government agencies, including the departments of Defense, Agriculture, Justice and Commerce, as well as the Environmental Protection Agency.
Those agencies were unable to provide complete shutdown cost estimates, according to the report by the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, which is chaired by Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio).
“Rather than saving taxpayer money, shutdowns produce significant costs to the American taxpayer,” said the report, which noted that Congress has routinely provided full back pay to federal workers who were furloughed and unable to work.
The report estimates the collective lost productivity of the furloughed workers at the surveyed agencies as 56,938 years.
The report covers three government shutdowns from the past five years: 16 days in October 2013 during the Obama administration; three days in January 2018 during the Trump administration; and, most recently, a record 35 days in December 2018 and January 2019 during the Trump administration.
The 180-page report details numerous government functions that were suspended during the shutdowns, including investigations of “bad actors who were potentially breaking federal laws” by agencies including the Justice Department.
Other impacts noted in the report from the most recent shutdown include the cancellation of about 60,000 immigration hearings; delays in decisions on potentially dangerous consumer products; closed and unattended national parks; and closed Smithsonian museums, which resulted in a loss of “significant revenue from its on-site shops, theaters and dining facilities.”