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US government shuts down for the 18th time

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The US government shut down at midnight Friday, the 18th such event in modern US history. RT takes a look at previous instances of congressional stalemate that brought the country to a standstill.

A shutdown occurs when Congress can’t agree on a spending bill. It results in the temporary suspension of “non-essential” civil services.

2013 Obamacare

The last government shutdown took place during Obama’s presidency in 2013 and lasted two weeks – more than 800,000 federal employees were furloughed during this period.

The shutdown happened when legislators couldn’t resolve a bitter budget standoff over Obama’s health care law.

1995 – 1996 Clinton’s double shutdown

Bill Clinton oversaw two government shutdowns within the space of weeks in 1995. The first deadlock occurred in November after Clinton vetoed spending legislation passed by the Republican-controlled Congress. Funding elapsed for five days and about 800,000 employees were furloughed.

In December, continued disputes over funding levels for the Medicare health insurance program for the elderly and other issues resulted in a second lapse in government funding for 21 days. Some 280,000 workers were furloughed until a resolution was met on January 6 1996.

1990 George H.W. Bush

A three-day shutdown took place beginning October 5 1990 when George H.W. Bush pledged to veto any continuing resolution that did not involve a plan to reduce the deficit.

The House tried to override his veto and failed, forcing a weekend shutdown.

1980s Reagan’s series of shutdowns

Ronald Reagan set a record of shutdowns which still stands, clocking up eight between 1981 and 1987. These all lasted between one and three days.

The 1981 shutdown was the first time a funding gap resulted in a severe reduction in government operations – furloughing 241,000 federal workers.

The first recorded shutdown took place during Gerald Ford’s presidency in 1976 on the back of the Congressional Budget Act of 1974.

It wasn’t until a set of opinions issued by Attorney General Benjamin Civiletti in 1980 and 1981, however, that the shutdowns actually entailed a halt to the functioning of the government.


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