Tuesday, Oct. 22, 2013 | 11:56 a.m.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said today he's been told the government shutdown cost the country at least 125,000 jobs, decrying it as a "manufactured crisis" that "accomplished nothing."
In a press conference call to tout additional funding for reducing the troublesome claims backlog the Veterans Affairs office in Reno, Reid blamed the shutdown for worsening the problem.
"Yes it made it worse!" Reid exclaimed in response to a reporter's question about the backlog. "If you're training for a race and then they say you're not gonna be able to do anything for 16 days, you don't come right back and think you're in the same shape you’re in before the 16-day non-workout. It effected everything, everybody. It was a manufactured crisis that should never have happened because it accomplished nothing. It did nothing."
Reid then referred to a White House press briefing today in which the chairman of the White House Council of Economic Advisors said they estimated the shutdown would stunt job growth by 120,000 jobs.
That number didn't seem right to Reid, though. So he decided to double it.
"I just left the White House they are saying, they're low-balling it, saying that we lost 125,000 jobs," he said. "They say more than that, but they want to be conservative. So let's say it lost 125,000 to 250,000 jobs. What a shame."
The Council of Economic Advisors is expected to release its job analysis later today.
The budget agreement Reid helped broker to re-open government last week included $2.455 billion-- an increase of $300 million--to reduce the VA backlogs.