Policy News

Impact of the Longest Shutdown in American History

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We are entering the 27th day of the government shutdown - officially the longest government shutdown in American history - and negotiations seem to be at a stalemate. President Trump insists that he will not pass a spending bill that doesn't include funding for a border wall, and Democrats refuse to allocate federal funding for the wall.  

There have been 14 federal funding gaps since 1981, six of which resulted in a shutdown, including the current shutdown.

government shutdown, shutdown 2019, 2019 government shutdown

All five of the previous shutdowns were resolved with short-term spending bills, which allowed debate to continue while funding the government and allowing federal employees to get back to work.

The effects of the five previous shutdowns were expansive, with a large number of government employees being furloughed, or working without pay. The cost of this shutdown, including wages and back pay for federal employees, is yet to be determined.

government shutdown, shutdown 2019, 2019 government shutdown

Shutdowns and funding gaps are generally the result of policy disagreements, and there are a number of reasons why competing sides of the policy disagreement seek a shutdown over concessions required to make a deal.

government shutdown, shutdown 2019, 2019 government shutdown

While a bipartisan group of Senators works to end the current shutdown, there is a hold on most other legislation as Democrats in the House fight to pass a spending bill.

Additionally, the impact of the shutdown is becoming apparent across different areas, including:

  • The Economy: Economists like Betsey Stevenson are also now concerned that the length of this shutdown could raise the risk of a recession, especially if it lasts much later into the first quarter of 2019.

  • Foreign Policy: There has also been an impact on diplomacy as State Department employees are feeling the effects of the shutdown.

  • Federal Workforce: On Tuesday, the Trump administration called back approximately 50,000 federal employees back to work without pay.

With this being the longest shutdown in American history, it’s difficult to predict the full impact, but it is certainly unprecedented.

If you or someone you know is affected by the shutdown visit this article for helpful resources.

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