Article Image

IPFS News Link • Government

A Brief History of Government Shutdowns (and Why This Fix Is Only Temporary)

•, Marie Hawthorne

However, the real structural problems within the federal government have not been addressed, which means it is only a matter of time before another funding battle begins.

So, let's talk a little more about government shutdowns.  What happens?  Who gets affected?  What happens if a shutdown occurs close to an election?

A brief history of government shutdowns
The federal government shut down twice during Clinton's presidency, once for six days in November 1995, and then a second time for 21 days between December 1995 and January 1996.  Clinton was trying to pass funding for various healthcare and environmental projects. The Republican Congress, led by Newt Gingrich, would not agree.

Then, in 2013, the government shut down under Obama.  Congress refused to approve funding for the newly approved Affordable Care Act, and the government began a partial shutdown on October 1, 2013.  About 800,000 federal workers went without pay, and over a million other workers had their paychecks delayed.  Obama signed an agreement to make some minor tweaks to ObamaCare shortly after midnight on October 17, ending the shutdown.

The government shut down twice under Trump.  The first time it closed for two days in January, 2018, when Republicans and Democrats could not agree on spending regarding immigration and healthcare policies.

This shutdown was unusual in that Republicans had control of the presidency as well as both houses of Congress,  illustrating the sharp divide Trump caused within the Republican Party.

The next shutdown under Trump occurred at the end of 2018, after mid-terms and with a Congress controlled by Democrats.  This time, the shutdown lasted 35 days, the longest shutdown in 40 years, and it occurred over funding of Trump's proposed border wall.