A government shutdown refers to a situation whereby government operations and agencies are closed due to lack of funding when Congress fail to pass appropriations, or the Presidents fails to sign the same. Most federal employees are forced to take temporary unpaid leave for the period of the shutdown (Wolfe). A shutdown, however, does not affect all activities with essential personnel working in national security and public safety remaining in work. A government showdown affects all agencies that depend on federal appropriations. Agencies whose operations were affected to some extent include the IRS, national parks and museums, the Library of Congress, FDA, CDC, and regulatory agencies such the EPA and SEC. However, some agencies such as post offices, Veterans hospitals and benefits, the military and the federal courts were unaffected by the shutdown.
The first government shutdown in history was in 1980 after Congress failed to appropriate funds to the Federal Trade Commission. Since then, there have been seven more government shutdowns in the following years: 1981, 1984, 1986, 1990, 1995, 1996, and 2013. This year’s shutdown lasted for three days, and it ended after House passed a stopgap spending bill to finance the government’s operations and agencies (Stolberg and Kaplan). The reason behind this year’s government shutdown was a lack of consensus between Republicans and Democrats on how to deal with the DACA program. The spending bill failed to pass in Senate as Democrats refused to vote since the bill did not address DACA. The impasse ended after both parties agreed to continue the debate on DACA in addition to negotiating matters concerning immigration spending. Another shutdown may ensue if the Republicans fail to honor their end of the bargain by February 8th when stop-gap spending bill becomes ineffective.
Stolberg, Sheryl Gay, and Thomas Kaplan. “Government shutdown ends after 3 days of recriminations.” The New York Times. 22 Jan. 2018. Web. 2 Feb. 2018.
Wolfe, Rachel. “What’s affected- and what’s not- by the government shutdown.” Vox. 22 Jan. 2018. Web. 1 Feb. 2018.