Some lawmakers want to force the government to shut down on October 1st in an effort to defund Planned Parenthood. If they succeed, not only would this be a reprehensible attack on women’s health—but it would also come at a substantial cost to the country. The full cost of the last government shutdown in 2013 to the U.S. economy is estimated at about $1.5 billion a day.
What does $1.5 billion mean to women and families? It equates to:
- More than two months of funding for Head Start.
- 3.5 times the total annual funding for the Dept. of Justice’s Office on Violence against Women.
- Nearly three months of funding for the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC), which provides food, nutrition education, and health care referrals to low-income pregnant, breastfeeding, and/or postpartum women and infants and children up to age five who are at nutritional risk.
- More than 5 times the total annual funding for Title X, HHS’s family planning program.
- More than five months of funding for the LIHEAP program, which provides assistance with heating and cooling costs for families in need.
- More than three months of federal child care assistance.
Keep in mind that was $1.5 billion PER DAY in costs to the economy. The 2013 shutdown lasted 16 days—that’s the equivalent of nearly three years of funding for Head Start.
Instead of pursuing policies dangerous to women’s health, lawmakers should support women and families by keeping the government open and passing a budget that lifts sequestration caps and fully funds programs critical to the economic security and health of women and their families.
Methodological note: Figures are FY 2015 funding levels.