Disputes over spending and health care in a divided Washington have triggered shutdowns of the federal government in recent years. Republicans now control the White House and Congress, and if lawmakers and President Donald Trump fail to agree on a spending bill by midnight Friday, a shutdown of an all-GOP government would occur for the first time in modern history.
A look at recent government shutdowns:
CLINTON AND GINGRICH’S CONTRACT WITH AMERICA
Nov. 14-19, 1995
Republicans wielding their Contract with America gained control of both the Senate and House for the first time since 1954 and Georgia’s Newt Gingrich was elected House speaker. Democratic President Bill Clinton, after the congressional midterm drubbing for his party, was dealing with the new world order.
Embolden Republicans were intent on remaking Medicare, Medicaid, welfare and dozens of other programs while also cutting taxes. Clinton vetoed a resolution to temporarily fund the government because of the Medicare premium increases it contained.
After five days, a deal was reached to end the shutdown, but only for a few weeks so that negotiations could take place on the various spending bills funding the government for the remainder of the fiscal year. An estimated 800,000 workers were furloughed, though they would get paid retroactively, which is the historical practice.
SHUTDOWN ROUND TWO AND PLANE SNUB
Dec. 16, 1995-Jan. 6, 1996
The Republican-led Congress and Clinton were still at odds on six of that year’s spending bills when the short-term fix ending the first shutdown expired. An estimated 280,000 federal workers were furloughed. They eventually agreed to spending plans that enacted some of the cuts Republicans wanted, though less than they had originally sought.
Republicans took a political hit for the shutdown, which closed national parks and Smithsonian museums.
Undercutting the GOP was Gingrich’s comment that the hard-line stand in negotiations was due in part to how Clinton and aides treated him and Senate GOP leader Bob Dole on an Air Force One flight. Gingrich complained that Clinton didn’t discuss the budget on the return trip from Israel where they had attended the funeral of slain Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin. Gingrich also groused about having to exit through a back door on the plane.
‘GREEN EGGS AND HAM’
Oct. 1-17, 2013
Republicans who controlled the House and several Senate GOP lawmakers targeted Democratic President Barack Obama’s health care law. Democrats who held the majority in the Senate made clear the effort was futile.
The shutdown was sparked when House Republicans insisted that a temporary funding bill contain changes in the health law, the Affordable Care Act, and Obama refused.
Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, helped inspire the effort when he spoke on the Senate floor for 21 hours and 19 minutes in urging Congress to cut off money for Obama’s health care law. To fill some of the hours — and provide a bedtime story for his two young daughters — Cruz read Dr. Seuss’ book “Green Eggs and Ham.” But even some Republicans thought the effort was a mistake. North Carolina Sen. Richard Burr called it “the dumbest idea I’ve ever heard.”
The shutdown sent approval of the GOP plummeting in opinion polls. Senate leaders brokered an agreement after the House was unable to coalesce around a Republican-only approach.
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