Trump economic adviser Kevin Hassett warns shutdown could slam U.S. economy

WASHINGTON – A top White House economic adviser said Wednesday that a prolonged shutdown of the federal government could bring the U.S. economy to a standstill.

“If it extended for the whole quarter,” White House Council of Economic Advisers Chairman Kevin Hassett told CNN, “then you could end up with a number very close to zero in the first quarter.”

The partial shutdown of the federal government, now in its 33rd day, has left some 800,000 federal employees without pay. It has cost the economy about $1.2 billion a week, according to an estimate earlier this month by S&P Global Ratings.

President Donald Trump frequently touts U.S. economic growth as a central accomplishment of his administration. “The United States has a great economic story to tell,” the president posted on Twitter on Tuesday. “Number one in the World, by far!”

Gross domestic product increased 3.4 percent in the third quarter of 2018, according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis.

Hassett said he is not concerned about the potential economic impact because he predicted, the economy would bounce back once the government reopens. The recovery, he told CNN, would be “humongous.”

Trump warned Wednesday the shutdown may drag on, and there were few signs of progress on negotiating an end to the impasse. House Democratic leaders were preparing a new offer that includes $5 billion in border security money if the president agrees to reopen the government – though the money could not be used on a wall.

The federal government shutdown was in its 33rd day Wednesday, with little sign of relief for the roughly 800,000 federal workers going without pay. The Senate on Thursday is holding votes on competing GOP and Democratic proposals that would fund the government through Feb. 8. Neither measure is expected to pass because of the parties’ standoff over President Donald Trump’s demand for $5.7 billion for a wall along the Mexican border.

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