The U.S. Travel Association (USTA) reacted swiftly to the announcement that an agreement has been reached to reopen the federal government for three weeks.
“The U.S. travel community thanks the president and congressional leaders for reaching an agreement that hopefully averts further disruption to air transportation, which undoubtedly would have begun to generate downstream economic damage throughout the country,” said Roger Dow, president and CEO of the USTA. “Likewise, the reopening of national parks, plus the resumption of government travel and government-related business travel, will halt the estimated $100 million in daily cost the loss of those activities has been imposing on the economy.”
Jason Briefel, executive director of Senior Executives Association (SEA)—a nonprofit professional association that advocates the interests of career federal executives, among other things—welcomed the reopening, but expressed concern about the big picture.
“Great news,” he said. “But the federal government isn’t a switch that can be turned on and off. It takes a lot of time to bring operations back up to full speed.”
Both large and small events involving federal employees were cancelled or postponed during the shutdown. Briefel noted that the training of workers at Air Traffic Control Academy was interrupted by a previous shutdown, and that other training and research often is interrupted by shutdowns.
Briefel serves as SEA’s legislative director, representing the organization and its members on Capitol Hill and with the Administration. He also represents SEA with the Federal-Postal Coalition and the Government Managers Coalition, and is board director of the Federal Employees Education and Assistance Fund.
As a lobbyist, he strives to ensure the welfare of federal employees and that the work of the federal government remains unimpeded. He is concerned about the effect of shutdowns on employees.
“The resilience of the workforce is depleted by these types of situations,” he said. “I’ve focused on reopening the government and getting people to act like adults by working out their differences through democratic processes.”
He’s hopeful that a new deal will be reached regarding the current situation.
“We’ll see what happens in the next three weeks,” he says. “Hopefully, a broader deal can be put in place before the situation becomes compounded and magnified.”