More than 400,000 federal employees are working without pay, trash is overflowing in our National Parks, and the presidents of labor unions—one of which is suing President Trump—have said that requiring workers to punch in without pay is “nothing short of inhumane.”
There were still faint glimmers of civilization left in a divided, deadlocked Washington: the 19 Smithsonian Institution museums and galleries along the National Mall remained opened to the public for free due to unused “prior-year funds”; and the National Gallery of Art remained open as well. Even without a paycheck, government employees could check out the Apollo 11 command module at the National Air and Space Museum, the contemporary art in the permanent collection of the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Chuck Berry’s sparkling Cadillac Eldorado at the National Museum of African American History and Culture, or Barack and Michelle Obama’s new portraits at the National Portrait Gallery.
The Library of Congress and the U.S. Botanic Garden—and the Capitol Visitor Center and Capitol Building, ironically—are operating as normal, since they were funded by the 2019 Legislative Branch Appropriations Bill.
List of federal shutdowns
On May 1, 1980, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) was shut down for one day after Congress failed to pass an appropriations bill for the agency
1981, 1984, and 1986
On November 23, 1981, 241,000 federal employees were furloughed for one day.The shutdown occurred because President Ronald Reagan vetoed a spending bill that contained a smaller set of spending cuts than he had proposed. The shutdown was estimated to cost taxpayers $80–90 million in back pay and other expenses Not all government departments shut down during the funding gap.
On October 4, 1984, 500,000 federal employees were furloughed for one afternoon.This shutdown occurred due to the inclusion of a water projects package and a civil rights measure that Reagan opposed. The bill was passed the following day after Congress removed these programs, and also included a compromise on funding of the Nicaraguan Contras.
On October 17, 1986, 500,000 federal employees were furloughed for one afternoon over a wide range of issues. The cost was estimated at $62 million in lost work.
The 1990 shutdown occurred over Columbus Day weekend, from Saturday, October 6 through Monday, October 8. The shutdown stemmed from the fact that a deficit reduction package negotiated by President George H. W. Bush contained tax increases, despite his campaign promise of “read my lips: no new taxes”,leading to a revolt led by then House Minority Whip Newt Gingrich that defeated the initial appropriations package
The two shutdowns of 1995 and 1995–96 were the result of conflicts between Democratic President Bill Clinton and the Republican Congress over funding for Medicare, education, the environment, and public health in the 1996 federal budget. The government shut down after Clinton vetoed the spending bill the Republican Party-controlled Congress sent him. Government workers were furloughed and non-essential services suspended during November 14–19, 1995 (for 5 days), and from December 16, 1995, to January 6, 1996 (for 22 days), in total 27 days.
Letter from President Barack Obama to US Government employees affected by the shutdown in 2013
The 2013 shutdown lasted 16 days, beginning on Tuesday, October 1, 2013. During the shutdown, approximately 800,000 federal employees were furloughed for 16 days, while another 1.3 million were required to report to work without known payment dates
The first shutdown of 2018 began at midnight EST on Saturday, January 20. On January 19, a bill failed to pass the Senate 50–49 with the majority of Democrats voting “no”.Five Republicans voted “no” and five Democrats voted “yes” in the Republican majority senate (60 votes were required for passage). Senate Democrats insisted that the issue of immigration, specifically the funding of DACA, be addressed in the budget.
A related funding gap occurred during the first 9 hours of Friday, February 9, 2018 EST. The funding gap was widely referred to in media reports as a second shutdown, although no workers were furloughed and government services were not disrupted because the funding gap occurred overnight and was resolved close to the beginning of the workday.
December 2018–January 2019
The third shutdown of 2018 began at midnight EST on Saturday, December 22 with a House-passed continuing resolution to fund the United States Government awaiting a full floor vote in the Senate. The point of contention was the inclusion of $5.7 billion in funding for a border wall that was a core Trump campaign promise.Under pressure from vocal members of his political base such as Ann Coulter and Rush Limbaugh for failing to secure the funding, Trump claimed ownership of the shutdown while in a televised meeting with Democratic leaders Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer.This shutdown is ongoing as of January 2019.
Roughly 380,000 federal workers were placed on unpaid leave, while some 420,000 “essential” personnel were required to work without pay, including tens of thousands of workers in federal law enforcement and national security positions, such as FBI, Border Patrol, Secret Service and Transportation Security Administration agents. Hundreds of TSA agents at major airports called in sick during the second week of the shutdown, reportedly in protest or to pick up income elsewhere. The Washington Post reported on 4 January 2019 that the Trump administration had not anticipated the shutdown would be prolonged and were now grasping the consequences of an extended shutdown, including sharp reductions in SNAP payments and delays of $140 billion in tax refunds