Partial government shutdown

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A partial government shutdown affects a handful of U.S. government agencies, idling up to 800,000 federal employees. [1] Although some have called such a curtailment a "government shutdown" - implying that the entire machinery of government grinds to a halt - the military, government-owned hospitals, Congress, Social Security checks and all other essential services continue without interruption.[1] What happens is just a suspension of non-essential United States federal government services, such as NASA Centers and National Parks, the Smithsonian Museum and several Washington, D.C. services.[2]

Military personnel may get only half pay temporarily but then are given back pay. Civilian employees are paid retroactively if required to work, and historically are paid even if required to remain at home.


Since 1981, the U.S. government has been partially shut down several times:[3][4]

  • In 1981, President Ronald Reagan vetoed a continuing resolution which partially shut down the government for the remainder of the day. Several hours after the veto, Reagan signed a new resolution and workers returned the next day.
  • In 1984, non-essential workers were sent home for the remainder of the day until an emergency spending bill brought them back the next day.
  • In 1990, the government was partially shut down over the Columbus Day weekend. Most workers had the days off, and were not adversely affected. President George H.W. Bush signed an emergency spending bill over the weekend and idle federal workers were back to work on Tuesday.
  • In 1995–1996, the federal government was partially shut down twice; once on November 14 and again in late December. The government shutdown starting in December lasted 21 days, making it the longest shutdown to date at that time (since surpassed by the 2018-2019 shutdown).[4]
  • In 2013, the government was shut down for 16 days after Republicans attempted to block the implementation of ObamaCare.
  • In 2018, the government was shut down for three days after Democrats attempted to legalize DACA. It was partially shut down again later in 2018 (and through 2019) over Democrats refusal to fund the wall (the Department of Defense was fully funded through September 2019 prior to the shut down, and therefore military and civilian operations remained in full operation), surpassing all prior records.

2011 U.S. Government Budget Debate

In 2011, the U.S. Government was once again on the verge of a shutdown, as big-government liberals refuse to enact common sense, deficit-reducing legislation previously passed by the Republican House. Despite claims of a shutdown adversely affecting the American public, as propagated by the liberal media, liberals, and some RINOs, the only real effect a shutdown would have had is that there would have been less government spending occurring; no significant harm would have been incurred.[5] The budget debate was resolved at the eleventh hour on April 8, 2011, when one last stopgap resolution was agreed upon and a plan to enact $38.5 billion in budget cuts. Though this was largely seen as a political victory for the GOP Speaker of the House, John Boehner,[6] it should be noted that riders for defunding abortion provider Planned Parenthood were defeated.[7]

President Obama said:

  • No Congress before this one has ever, ever, in history been irresponsible enough to threaten default, to threaten an economic shutdown, to suggest America not pay its bills, just to try to blackmail a president into giving them some concessions on issues that have nothing to do with a budget." House G.O.P. Raises Stakes in Debt-Ceiling Fight - Jonathan Weisman - September 26, 2013