Recent US federal government shutdowns

People walking past a sign announcing that New York state is funding the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island during the goverment shutdown, on Jan 5, 2019.
People walking past a sign announcing that New York state is funding the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island during the goverment shutdown, on Jan 5, 2019.PHOTO: AFP

Since the Congressional Budget Act of 1974, the United States Congress has failed to authorise funding for the federal government on more than 20 occasions. It was only after 1980 that the government began treating funding gaps as necessitating the full or partial shutdown of government agencies.

1995, AND FROM 1995 TO 1996

President: Bill Clinton Senate: Republicans (53-47), Majority Leader Bob Dole House: Republicans (233-199), Speaker Newt Gingrich The two shutdowns were over fights between the Democrat President and the Republican Congress, over funding for Medicare, the environment, and public health in the 1996 federal budget. The first shutdown, lasting six days, affected 800,000 workers; the second lasted 21 days and affected about 284,000. Who won: Democrats

OCTOBER 2013: 16 DAYS

President: Barack Obama Senate: Democrats (54-46), Majority Leader Harry Reid House: Republicans (232-200), Speaker John Boehner The October 2013 shutdown lasted 16 days, affecting approximately 800,000 federal employees who were placed on furlough, with another 1.3 million required to report to work without known payment dates. The fight was over the Affordable Care Act commonly known as Obamacare. The Republican Party wanted to delay Obamacare or prevent it from receiving funds. Who won: Democrats

JANUARY 2018 : 4 DAYS

President: Donald Trump Senate: Republicans (51-47), Majority Leader Mitch McConnell House: Republicans (241-194), Speaker Paul Ryan. On Jan 19, Senate Democrats insisted that the issue of immigration, specifically the funding of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) - which allowed children of illegal immigrants to stay in the US - be addressed in the budget. Republicans refused, saying the deadline for DACA and immigration was only in March. Eventually a stopgap budget was passed. Who won: Republicans backed down.

 
 

FEBRUARY 2018 : 9 HOURS A funding gap occurred for nine hours on Feb 9, as the two parties wrangled again over funding for the military and raising the debt ceiling. But overnight, the Senate passed the Bill. Who won: Opinion divided, but some see the Democrats as having lost.

DECEMBER 2018 TO

JANUARY 2019: ONGOING President: Donald Trump Senate: Republicans (52-45), Majority Leader Mitch McConnell House: Democrats (235-199), Speaker Nancy Pelosi

The current shutdown began on Saturday, Dec 22, with the impasse being a demand for US$ 5.7 billion (S$7.75 billion) by President Trump, to fund a wall on the Mexican border.

Sources: Vox, Wikipedia

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on January 06, 2019, with the headline 'Recent US federal government shutdowns'. Print Edition | Subscribe