Washington, D.C.—Today, Congressman Don Beyer (D-VA), the Vice Chair of the U.S. Congress Joint Economic Committee (JEC), released the following statement after the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) released its initial estimate of first quarter gross domestic product (GDP), showing that real GDP shrank at an annual rate of 4.8%—the worst quarterly decline since the Great Recession.

This means that the economy went into recession during the first quarter of the year (January-March) when social distancing as a result of the coronavirus was just beginning. The Congressional Budget Office predicts that GDP will shrink even more during the second quarter—40 percent on an annualized basis.

“This decline, and the one to come, should be a thunderbolt for President Trump, Senate Majority Leader McConnell and others who would rather force states to cut critical services than give them the federal assistance they need to fight the coronavirus. If states do not get the support they need, this horrible recession could turn into a depression. Depriving state and local governments of the federal assistance that the National Governors Association and others are calling for would be the equivalent of driving past a fire in a fire truck,” Congressman Beyer said.

“Congress needs to follow the lead of governors, mayors, firefighters, teachers, police officers, health care workers and others who are on the frontlines of this public health crisis, as well as all of the families who are following stay-at-home orders to stop the spread of the virus—they know their state and local governments need help now and for the foreseeable future and expect us to do our jobs.”

About Congressman Beyer

Congressman Beyer is currently serving his third term in the U.S. House of Representatives, representing Northern Virginia suburbs of the nation’s capital. In addition to his role as Vice Chair of the JEC, Beyer serves on the House Committee on Ways and Means and the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology. Previously, Beyer served at Lieutenant Governor of Virginia, Ambassador to Switzerland and built a successful family business over the course of four decades.