A Little History on U.S. Shutdowns

Dec 2015
We are currently in the middle of the second longest-running government shutdown (now the longest--article was written Jan. 7) in American history. And with 18 full days down and no clear end in sight, the odds are good that the 2018-’19 shutdown will outlast 1995’s (21 days) by the time it’s done. (YEP--we're there)

The partial shutdown began on December 22, 2018, with President Donald Trump’s demand for $5 billion to pay for his much-promised full-length border wall with Mexico, and while both parties in Congress had floated $1.6 billion as a compromise, Trump rejected it. His $5 billion isn’t enough for a full wall but would block off 215 additional miles that are currently unfenced (in addition to the 120 miles the administration is currently building with existing funds). Most recently Democrats offered a spending package that would maintain current funding levels for border security, which Trump rejected out of hand.
(Trump also rejected $25 billion a year ago in exchange for DACA)

In the meantime, some 420,000 federal workers are working without pay; another 380,000 are furloughed without pay; tax refunds might be delayed; and food stamps payments could soon be cut for lack of funds.

Government shutdowns are familiar to most Americans, but they’re a relatively recent development. They are the result of the Congressional Budget Act of 1974. Since then, Congress has failed to authorize funding for the federal government on 18 separate occasions.

The first six of those didn’t actually affect the functioning of government at all. It wasn’t until a set of opinions issued by Attorney General Benjamin Civiletti in 1980 and ’81 that the government started treating “funding gaps”— periods when Congress has failed to allocate funds for the ongoing functions of government — as necessitating the full or partial shutdown of government agencies.

Here are all 20 funding gaps, and why they happened. When not otherwise cited, the explanations below come courtesy of this helpful piece by some dude named Dylan Matthews.

Any guesses on which presidential administration HOLDS the record for the MOST shutdowns?? That would be Ronnie Raygun. 8--EIGHT--8 shutdowns.

Obama had one. Why? Ted Cruz.

Take a walk down memory lane. It's interesting history.
All 20 previous government shutdowns, explained


Forum Staff
Apr 2013
La La Land North
The debt ceiling was such a nice idea but it has turned out to be a counterproductive farce. Time to kill it.