Update: The longest government shutdown in U.S. History began ~ above Dec. 22, 2018. Here"s everything you should know about it.

You are watching: Government shutdowns in the past 20 years


Since the modern-day congressional budgeting procedure took impact in 1976, there have been a total of seventeen separate government shutdowns (or "spending gaps" in Hill jargon). Given that we appear to be headed for an additional one imminently, let"s look ago at those experiences, the political circumstances around them and what occurred as a consequence. Many of the specifically, were attracted from The Washington Post print archives, which you can accessibility for a modest sum here.


It"s additionally important to keep in mind that no all shutdowns are developed equal. Before some 1980 and 1981 opinions issued by then-Attorney General Benjamin Civiletti, a failure to fund some component of the federal government didn"t necessarily mean that that component of government would prevent functioning. Civiletti"s opinions taken the Antideficiency Act, a legislation passed in 1884, as definition that a failure to pass new spending bills forced government functioning come shut under in entirety or in part. So the "shutdowns" provided below the happened in between 1976 tand 1979 go not always entail one actual prevent to government functioning; they were regularly simply resources gaps the didn"t have any type of real-world effect.


When walk it take it place? Sept. 30 to Oct. 11, 1976How long did it last? 10 daysWho to be president? Gerald FordWho controlled the Senate? Democrats, 62-38; Mike Mansfield was bulk leaderWho managed the House? Democrats, 291-144; Carl Albert was speakerWhy did the happen? The major budget conflict during this duration came because Ford vetoed a funding bill because that the Departments of Labor and also Health, Education, and Welfare (or HEW, today split into the departments of Education and of Health and also Human Services), suggesting that that failed to restrain spending adequately.What resolved it? Congress overrode Ford"s veto Oct. 1, therefore the safety bills took effect, yet it wasn"t until over a week later that the partial shutdown ended, together it was only on Oct.11 that a continuing resolution ending funding gaps for other parts of government ended up being law.


When go it take place? Sept. 30 to Oct. 13, 1977How lengthy did the last? 12 daysWho was president? Jimmy CarterWho regulated the Senate? Democrats, 59-41; Robert Byrd was majority leaderWho controlled the House? Democrats, 292-143; tip O"Neill to be speakerWhy did the happen? The house insisted on proceeding the half on making use of Medicaid dollars to pay because that abortions other than in cases where the life the the mom was at stake. The Senate want to ease this to incorporate allowances because that abortions in the instance of rape or incest or when the mother"s health was in danger. Due to the fact that the worry had end up being tied to funding for Labor and HEW, failure to come to an covenant led those organ to have a capital gap.What fixed it? The Medicaid ban was ongoing until Oct. 31 and the shutdown ended, to provide negotiators an ext time to work out a deal.


Shutdown #3: The Abortion Shutdown II: Abortion Boogaloo


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When go it take it place? Oct. 31 come Nov. 9, 1977How lengthy did the last? 8 daysWho was president? Jimmy CarterWho controlled the Senate? Democrats, 59-41; Robert Byrd was bulk leaderWho managed the House? Democrats, 292-143; pointer O"Neill was speakerWhy did that happen? Not sufficient time had elapsed because the short-term measure finishing the shutdown passed for the abortion standoff to be resolved.What fixed it? Another temporary bill was signed by Carter to enable for much more time for Congress to deal with its abortion dispute.


When go it take place? Nov. 30 come Dec. 9, 1977How long did the last? 8 daysWho to be president? Jimmy CarterWho managed the Senate? Democrats, 59-41; Robert Byrd was bulk leaderWho controlled the House? Democrats, 292-143; tip O"Neill to be speakerWhy did the happen? The 2nd temporary measure ending a shutdown, meant to allow much more time because that negotiation, didn"t last lengthy enough. The House, in particular, garbage a Senate proposal that would certainly have enabled for medical allowance to pay because that abortions by victims of statutory rape. House conservatives rejected the as also lax and also House liberals together too difficult on rape victims. Rep. George müller (D-Calif.), that is quiet in the House, inquiry on the residence floor, "What wake up in fort Apache , where a girl is gang-raped and also told she will be killed if she reports it?"


What solved it? A deal was brokered in which the exception enabling Medicaid come pay for abortions in instances where the mother"s life is threatened was widened to include abortions result from rape or incest, or i beg your pardon are necessary to protect the mother"s health (even if her life was no endangered).


When walk it take it place? Sept. 30 to Oct.18, 1978How lengthy did that last? 18 daysWho was president? Jimmy CarterWho controlled the Senate? Democrats, 59-41; Robert Byrd was bulk leaderWho regulated the House? Democrats, 292-143; pointer O"Neill to be speakerWhy did the happen? Congress happen a defense invoice including funding for a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier. Carter judged the carrier wasteful and also vetoed it. He also vetoed a public works appropriations bill since of water jobs that he thought about wasteful pork. Additionally, spending for HEW was delayed, as soon as again, end a problem concerning capital for abortion.What addressed it? A brand-new defense bill, excluding resources for the carrier, was passed, together was a brand-new public works bill excluding the water tasks Carter opposed. The previous year"s compromise solution on abortion, in which funding was scheduled for cases of rape, incest and jeopardy to the mother"s health, to be agreed to in both houses.


When walk it take place? Sept. 30 come Oct. 12, 1979How long did that last? 11 daysWho to be president? Jimmy CarterWho managed the Senate? Democrats, 58-42; Robert Byrd was majority leaderWho regulated the House? Democrats, 277-158; reminder O"Neill to be speakerWhy did the happen? The house wanted to raise conference and senior civil servant salary by 5.5 percent, which the Senate opposed. The reduced house likewise wanted to limit federal abortion safety to cases where the mother"s life remained in danger, while the Senate wanted to keep funding in situations of rape, incest, and when the mother"s health and wellness is in significant jeopardy. The problem was not resolved before a partial shutdown.What solved it? The House acquired its salary increases but had to allow abortion funding in situations of rape or incest (but not once the mother"s health, quite than life, remained in danger). The latter was a slight tightening of the ahead year"s medical allowance abortion compromise.


When did it take place? Nov. 20-23, 1981How lengthy did it last? 2 daysWho was president? Ronald ReaganWho regulated the Senate? Republicans, 53-47; Howard Baker was majority leaderWho controlled the House? Democrats, 244-191; reminder O"Neill to be speakerWhy did that happen? Reagan promised come veto any type of spending bill the didn"t include at least fifty percent of his proposed $8.4 exchange rate in domestic budget cuts. The Senate passed a bill that met his specifications, yet the house insisted on both better defense cuts than Reagan wanted and pay raises for itself and also for senior-level federal civil servants. Eventually, the House and Senate i agree to and also passed a parcel that dropped $2 billion quick of the cuts Reagan wanted, therefore Reagan vetoed it and shut under the government.What addressed it? The House and Senate passed, and also Reagan signed, a invoice extending current spending v Dec. 15, providing them time to work out a longer-lasting deal.


Shutdown #8: let them eat shutdown


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When did it take it place? Sept. 30 to Oct. 2, 1982How lengthy did it last? 1 dayWho to be president? Ronald ReaganWho managed the Senate? Republicans, 53-47; Howard Baker was majority leaderWho regulated the House? Democrats, 244-191; reminder O"Neill to be speakerWhy did it happen? Basically no reason. The brand-new fiscal year started and also Congress just hadn"t passed new spending in time, and so parts of the federal government were forced to closeup of the door down. While there were some debates over security levels between the House and also Senate and also the administration, the factor the previous didn"t pass the bill before a shutdown was usually that they had actually other plans.


"Congressional leaders barred a late-night session because of major social events tonight by both Republicans and Democrats," martin Tolchin in ~ the brand-new York time reported. "President Reagan invited all members of congress to a barbecue in ~ the White House, while democrats were having actually a $1,000-a-plate fund-raising dinner."What addressed it? The House and also Senate happen spending receipt late, and also Reagan signed them despite the truth that they surpassed his wanted spending level in the near-run.


When go it take place? Dec.17-21, 1982How lengthy did it last? 3 daysWho to be president? Ronald ReaganWho managed the Senate? Republicans, 53-47; Howard Baker was bulk leaderWho regulated the House? Democrats, 244-191; guideline O"Neill was speakerWhy did it happen? House and also Senate negotiators desire to money $5.4 billion and $1.2 billion, respectively, in public functions spending to create jobs, but the Reagan management threatened to veto any kind of spending invoice that had jobs money. The House additionally opposed funding the MX missile program, a major defense priority of Reagan"s.What resolved it? The House and also Senate abandoned their tasks plans however declined to money the MX missile, or the Pershing II missile (which to be a medium-range missile, when the MX to be intercontinental). Lock also listed funding for the Legal solutions Corp., which provides legal assistance for poor Americans and which Reagan had wanted abolished, and also increased foreign help to Israel over what Reagan wanted. While Reagan criticized these moves, the grudgingly signed the bill complying with a short shutdown.


When go it take it place? Nov. 10-14, 1983How long did it last? 3 daysWho was president? Ronald ReaganWho managed the Senate? Republicans, 55-45; Howard Baker was bulk leaderWho managed the House? Democrats, 271-164; guideline O"Neill was speakerWhy did the happen? House democracy passed an amendment including close come $1 billion in education spending. They likewise cut foreign aid below what Reagan wanted, adding money because that Israel and Egypt however cutting it significantly for Syria and also El Salvador, and also cut defense security by about $11 billion loved one to Reagan"s request. The conflict wasn"t resolved prior to a short shutdown could occur.What fixed it? House democracy agreed to mitigate their education spending request to about $100 million. They additionally funded the MX missile, which castle had effectively cut resources for throughout the critical shutdown battle. However, they kept their foreign assist and defense cuts, and also got a ban on oil and also gas leasing in federal animal refuges. The spending invoice also included a ban on using federal employee health insurance to money abortions, except when the mother"s life was in danger, similar to the ban already in place for medical allowance (see above). That wasn"t together partisan an worry at the time; it to be a success for anti-abortion members that both next (including Reagan and also O"Neill) and loss for pro-choice Democrats and Republicans (including Baker).


When go it take it place? Sept. 30 come Oct. 3, 1984How long did that last? 2 daysWho was president? Ronald ReaganWho managed the Senate? Republicans, 55-45; Howard Baker was bulk leaderWho managed the House? Democrats, 270-165; guideline O"Neill to be speakerWhy did the happen? Passage that a spending invoice was complex by the home linking it to a crime-fighting parcel (which Reagan wanted) and also a water jobs package (which that opposed), and the Senate"s tying it to a civil legal rights measure (which Reagan likewise opposed) the would have reversed a can be fried Court ruling weakening civil rights demands on universities receiving federal funds. Reagan offered to forgo his crime invoice in exchange because that junking the water package and also the civil legal rights provision, however a transaction wasn"t reached in time to avoid a short shutdown.What addressed it? A three-day spending expansion was passed and signed so the the parties can keep negotiating.


When did it take it place? Oct. 3-5, 1984How lengthy did it last? 1 dayWho was president? Ronald ReaganWho managed the Senate? Republicans, 55-45; Howard Baker was bulk leaderWho controlled the House? Democrats, 270-165; guideline O"Neill was speakerWhy did the happen? The three-day expansion (see above) wasn"t long enough, apparently.What addressed it? Congress relented and the water tasks were stripped from a security bill, as was the civil civil liberties measure. Castle passed a crime package along Reagan"s preferred lines together well. A deteriorate was cleared up on funding for the Nicaraguan Contras (which arised as an concern in the course of the negotiations, despite not originally being a cause of the shutdowns), wherein the anti-Sandinista forces could be sponsor until early on the complying with year.


When did it take place? Oct. 16-18, 1986How long did it last? 1 dayWho to be president? Ronald ReaganWho regulated the Senate? Republicans, 53-47; Bob Dole was majority leaderWho controlled the House? Democrats, 253-182; pointer O"Neill to be speakerWhy did the happen? The quick shutdown complied with several arguments between Reagan and the Democrat-controlled House, including over a provision come ban carriers from creating subsidiaries to get around labor contracts, another requiring that fifty percent the goods and labor offered in offshore oil rigs it is in American in origin, and one that would have expanded help to households with dependency Children, which is what welfare was recognized as at the time. All of those were plans supported by residence Democrats and also opposed by Reagan and Senate Republicans. The dispute wasn"t resolved over time to stop a shutdown.What addressed it? House Democrats offered up a variety of their demands, and also secured a promise for a vote on your welfare expansion, and also in return passed appropriations vital to reopen the government. Republicans, meanwhile, readily available a concession concerned the government"s revenue of Conrail, a then-public railway.


When walk it take it place? Dec. 18-20, 1987How long did it last? 1 dayWho to be president? Ronald ReaganWho managed the Senate? Democrats, 54-46; Robert Byrd was majority leaderWho controlled the House? Democrats, 258-177; Jim Wright to be speakerWhy did that happen? Reagan and congressional Democrats might not agree on resources for the Nicaraguan "Contra" militants in time to avoid a shutdown. Additionally, Democrats thrust for a supplication reinstating the "Fairness Doctrine," which forced that broadcasters give equal airing to both sides in political disputes, and also which the FCC had actually recently quit enforcing at the time.What addressed it? Democrats gave in on the same Doctrine, and also a deal was worked out wherein nonlethal aid was noted to the Contras.


Shutdown #15: somebody come up through a plan!


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When walk it take it place? Oct. 5-9, 1990How lengthy did it last? 3 daysWho was president? George H.W. BushWho managed the Senate? Democrats, 55-45; George Mitchell was bulk leaderWho regulated the House? Democrats, 258-176; Tom Foley to be speakerWhy did the happen? Bush refused to sign any kind of continuing resolution into law unless it was paired v a deficit reduction plan, and backed up the pledge by vetoing one the made it come his desk. The home failed come override his veto and also the dispute was not resolved before a shutdown.What solved it? The House and Senate adopted a joint spending plan resolution that noted an outline for reducing the deficit, and Bush then signed a continuing resolution they sent out him, ending the shutdown.


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Federal workers marched external the State department on Jan. 3, 1996, to protest the partial federal federal government shutdown. (AP)


When did it take place? Nov. 13-19, 1995How long did the last? 5 daysWho to be president? bill ClintonWho managed the Senate? Republicans, 53-47; Bob Dole was bulk leaderWho controlled the House? Republicans, 233-199; Newt Gingrich to be speakerWhy did the happen? The GOP-run Congress sent out Clinton a proceeding resolution that would have raised Medicare premiums, cursed the chairman to balance the budget plan within seven years, and also curtailed eco-friendly regulations, amongst other provisions. He vetoed it, triggering a shutdown.What fixed it? The shutdown was ended when Clinton, Gingrich and also Dole got to an commitment to fund the government at 75 percent level for four weeks while spending plan negotiations continued. Clinton additionally agreed come the seven-year well balanced budget timeline. Workers furloughed during the shutdown to be given ago pay.


Shutdown #17: Clinton v. Gingrich, the Second: Baseline Boogaloo


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When did it take it place? Dec. 5, 1995 come Jan. 6, 1996How lengthy did the last? 21 daysWho was president? invoice ClintonWho controlled the Senate? Republicans, 53-47; Bob Dole was bulk leaderWho controlled the House? Republicans, 235-198; Newt Gingrich to be speakerWhy did it happen? Republican leader demanded that the White house propose a seven-year budget arrangement that balanced when utilizing the CBO"s economic forecasts, quite than the OMB"s, i beg your pardon were an ext optimistic. The plan Clinton propose still produced a $115 billion deficit in 7 years according to CBO numbers, also as the OMB estimated that it would certainly balance the budget plan by then. The problem was not resolved before the proceeding resolution agreed to a month previously (see previous entry) expired.What addressed it? Republicans caved, basically, and passed law to store the government open. Clinton, in turn, submitted a budget plan that the CBO said well balanced the budget within 7 years.


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