The 5 longest government shutdowns in U.S. history

- You’ve probably been hearing a lot about government shutdowns lately… but do you know the history of shutdowns? 

There have been 19 shutdowns since the current process through which Congress appropriates funds for the operation of government agencies was introduced in 1976. Most of them happened over the course of a single weekend, but there have been five shutdowns longer than 10 days:

  • FRIDAY, SEPT. 30 TO THURSDAY, OCT. 13, 1977: In 1977, Jimmy Carter’s government shut down for 10 days, over disagreements about Medicaid.
  • SATURDAY, SEPT. 30 TO WEDNESDAY, OCT. 18, 1978: A year later, in 1978, Carter’s government shut down again, this time after Carter vetoed a $37 billion defense authorization bill.
  • SUNDAY, SEPT. 30 TO FRIDAY, OCT. 12, 1979: Carter’s government shut down one last time for 11 days in the autumn of 1979 because of a disagreement over a 5.5% pay increase for members of congress.
  • FRIDAY, DEC. 15, 1995, TO SATURDAY, JAN. 6, 1996: In December, 1995 to January, 1996, Bill Clinton’s presidency saw the longest shutdown of all: 21 days when Democrat Clinton vetoed a spending bill from his Republican congress.
  • MONDAY, SEPT. 30 TO THURSDAY, OCT. 17, 2013: Finally, in 2013, Barack Obama’s government saw a 16-day shutdown, when congress couldn’t come to an agreement over the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare.
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