The federal government has previously shut down 17 times in the past four decades. The longest shutdowns were:
• 1. December 16, 1995 to January 6, 1996, 21-day dispute between President Clinton and the Republican House over budget deficit projections.
• 2. September 30 to October 18, 1978, 18-day dispute over President Carter's veto of a bill funding a a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier and additional disputes over Medicaid funding for abortion.
• 3. September 30 to October 13, 1977, 12-day dispute between the House and Senate over Medicaid dollars for abortion.
• 4. September 30 to October 12, 1979, 11-day dispute between the Senate and House over pay raises for Congress and abortion spending.
• 5. September 30 to October 11, 1976, 10-day dispute between President Ford and Congress over social spending.
Prior to 1980, most government agencies kept operating without a budget. But in 1980 and 1981, Attorney General Benjamin R. Civiletti issued two opinions that more strictly interpreted the Antideficiency Act to limit what operations are "essential" and may continue without a budget
Source: A Brief History Of Federal Government Shutdown, Outside the Beltway. April 2011.
Dave Flessner is the business editor for the Times Free Press. A journalist for 35 years, Dave has been business editor and projects editor for the Chattanooga Times Free Press, city editor for The Chattanooga Times, business and county reporter for the Chattanooga Times, correspondent for the Lansing State Journal and Ingham County News in Michigan, staff writer for the Hastings Daily Tribune in Nebraska, and news director for WCBN-FM in Michigan. Dave, a native ...