Explaining the history of government shutdowns

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Explaining the history of government shutdowns

Michael Mates, Sports Editor

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In the history of the United States government, there have been twenty different shutdowns. According to the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, there are two different levels of a government shutdowns.

One example of a federal shutdown is a “funding gap.” This is a shutdown that does not affect more than one business day. According to the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, “before 1980, the government did not shut down but rather continued normal operations through six funding gaps. Since 1981, 10 funding gaps of three days or less have occurred, mostly over a weekend when government operations were only minimally affected.” The second type of shutdown is an occurrence when the government runs out of money to pay and fufill non-essential activities.  

There are two ways to avoid a government shutdown for Congress: passing appropriations or a continuing resolution. An appropriation is any sort of spending or supply bill that allows the government to spend and buy supplies for government use. Also, an appropriation bill sets aside money for specific reasons and spending purposes. A counting resolution is a short term piece of legislation passed by Congress to keep the government open.

Social Studies teacher Mrs. Renae Stoudt, who is married to a government employed Air Traffic Controller, said, “The government shutdowns are difficult to balance and a strain on a family’s budget, especially with the last shutdown coming around Christmas.” She continued to say, “The unknown is also a scary part of the shutdowns because no one knows when the government will open back up.”

As previously mentioned, there have been four complete government shutdowns as of right now. Here are the details from each one according to vox.com:

Shutdown 1: November 13 to 19, 1995

President: Bill Clinton
Why: Gingrich and Dole sent Clinton a continuing resolution including hikes to Medicare premiums, rollbacks of environmental regulations, and a requirement to balance the budget within seven years. Clinton vetoed it, and the government went into shutdown. The shutdown ended with a deal among the three leaders to fund the government at 75 percent levels for four weeks so that negotiations could keep going. Clinton acceded to the seven-year balanced budget requirement. About 800,000 employees were furloughed.

Shutdown 2: December 16, 1995, to January 6, 1996
President: Bill Clinton
Why: This shutdown, which lasted the better part of a month, was all about whether to use economic forecasts from the Congressional Budget Office or the Office of Management and Budget to determine whether the White House’s budget plan would balance. The CBO was more cautious, and projected that Clinton would still have a $115 billion deficit in seven years under his plan. Republicans eventually caved after 21 days, and Clinton then proposed a plan that the CBO agreed balanced the budget. Some 284,000 workers were furloughed, in the second longest shutdown in history.

Shutdown 3: October 1 to 17, 2013
President: Barack Obama
Why: While House Republicans, led by Boehner, had pressured the White House into agreeing to lower levels of discretionary spending, and conservatives in the House led by Rep. Tom Graves (R-GA) demanded that any funding bill delay implementation of Obamacare by a year. It was set to roll out the following year, and conservatives, most vocally led by Ted Cruz and Heritage Action, were desperate to stop it before it gained beneficiaries who could defend it politically. Enough House conservatives got on board with the plan to make it impossible to pass a continuing resolution, and the government shut down.
After 17 days, Boehner folded and passed a funding bill that did not defund Obamacare and that most of his caucus opposed. Roughly 850,000 workers, or about 40 percent of the federal workforce, were furloughed.

Shutdown 4: December 22, 2018 to January 24, 2019

President: Donald Trump

Why: Trump wanted funding for the border wall, but Democrats, who took control of the House during the shutdown, wanted to fund the government temporarily with no strings attached.

President Trump and Congress will have to come to an agreement by tonight (Friday) at 11:59 to avoid another funding gap.