Federal government The United States Federal Government has shut down on 18 occasions since 1976: Year Start date End date Total days Explanation
1976 September 30 October 11 10 Citing out of control spending, President Gerald Ford vetoed a funding bill for the United States Department of Labor and the United States Department of Health, Education, and Welfare (HEW), leading to a partial government shutdown. On October 1, the Democratic-controlled Congress overrode Ford's veto but it took until October 11 for a continuing resolution ending funding gaps for other parts of government to become law.
1977 September 30 October 13 12 The Democratic-controlled House continued to uphold the ban on using Medicaid dollars to pay for abortions, except in cases where the life of the mother was at stake. Meanwhile, the Democratic-controlled Senate pressed to loosen the ban to allow abortion funding in the case of rape or incest. A funding gap was created when disagreement over the issue between the houses had become tied to funding for the Departments of Labor and HEW, leading to a partial government shutdown. A temporary agreement was made to restore funding through October 31, 1977, allowing more time for Congress to resolve its dispute.
1977 October 31 November 9 8 The earlier temporary funding agreement expired. President Jimmy Carter signed a second funding agreement to allow for more time for negotiation.
1977 November 30 December 9 8 The second temporary funding agreement expired. The House held firm against against the Senate in its effort to ban Medicaid paying for the abortions of victims of statutory rape. A deal was eventually struck which allowed Medicaid to pay for abortions in cases resulting from rape, incest, or in which the mother's health is at risk.
1978 September 30 October 18 18 Deeming them wasteful, President Carter vetoed a public works appropriations bill and a defense bill including funding for a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier. Spending for the Department of HEW was also delayed over additional disputes concerning Medicaid funding for abortion.
1979 September 30 October 12 11 Against the opposition of the Senate, the House pushed for a 5.5 percent pay increase for congress members and senior civil servants. The House also sought to restrict federal spending on abortion only to cases where the mother's life is in danger, while the Senate wanted to maintain funding for abortions in cases of rape and incest.
1981 November 20 November 23 2 President Ronald Reagan pledged that he would veto any spending bill that failed to include at least half of the $8.4 billion in domestic budget cuts that he proposed. Although the Republican controlled Senate passed a bill that met his specifications, the Democratic House insisted on larger cuts to defense than Reagan wanted and for congressional and civil servant pay raises. A compromise bill fell $2 billion short of the cuts Reagan wanted, so Reagan vetoed the bill and shut down the federal government. A temporary bill restored spending through 15 December and gave Congress the time to work out a more lasting deal.
1982 September 30 October 2 1 Congress passed the required spending bills a day late. 1982 December 17 December 21 3 The Democratic controlled House and the Republican controlled Senate wished to fund jobs, but President Reagan vowed to veto any such legislation. The House also opposed plans to fund the MX missile. The shutdown ended after Congress abandoned their jobs plan, but Reagan was forced to yield on funding for both the MX and Pershing II missiles. He also accepted funding for the Legal Services Corporation, which he wanted abolished, in exchange for higher foreign aid to Israel.
1983 November 10 November 14 3 The Democratic controlled House increased education funding, but cut defense and foreign aid spending, which led to a dispute with President Reagan. Eventually, the House reduced their proposed education funding, and also accepted funding for the MX missile. However, the foreign aid and defense cuts remained, and oil and gas leasing was banned in federal wildlife refuges. Abortion was also prohibited for being paid for with government employee health insurance.
1984 September 30 October 3 2 The House wished to link the budget to both a crime-fighting package President Reagan supported and a water projects package he did not. The Senate additionally tied the budget to a civil rights measure designed to overturn Grove City v. Bell. Reagan proposed a compromise where he abandoned his crime package in exchange for Congress dropping theirs. A deal was not struck, and a three-day spending extension was passed instead. 1984 October 3 October 5 1 The three-day spending extension expired, forcing a shutdown. Congress dropped their proposed water and civil rights packages, while President Reagan kept his crime package. Funding for aid to the Nicaraguan Contras was also passed.
1986 October 16 October 18 1 A dispute over multiple issues between the Democratic controlled House and President Reagan and the Republican Senate forced a shutdown. The Democratic controlled House dropped many of their demands in exchange for a vote on their welfare package, and a concession of the sale of then-government-owned Conrail.
1987 December 18 December 20 1 Democrats, who now controlled both the House and the Senate, opposed funding for the Contras, and wanted the Federal Communications Commission to begin reenforcing the "Fairness Doctrine". They yielded on the "Fairness Doctrine" in exchange for non-lethal aid to the Contras.
1990 October 5 October 9 4 President George H.W. Bush vowed to veto any continuing resolution that was not paired with a deficit reduction package, and did so when one reached his desk. The House failed to override his veto before a shutdown occurred. Congress then passed a continuing resolution with a deficit reduction package that Bush signed to end the shutdown.
1995 November 13 November 19 5 In the shutdown of 1995 and 1996 President Bill Clinton vetoed a continuing resolution passed by the Republican-controlled Congress. A deal was reached allowing for 75 percent funding for four weeks, and Clinton agreed to a seven-year timetable for a balanced budget. 1995 December 16 January 6, 1996 21 Subsequently the Republicans demanded President Clinton propose a budget with the seven-year timetable using Congressional Budget Office numbers, rather than Clinton's Office of Management and Budget numbers. However, Clinton refused. Eventually, Congress and Clinton agreed to pass a compromise budget.
2013 October 1 Ongoing Ongoing Due to disagreement regarding inclusion of language delaying the Affordable Care Act, the Government has not passed a funding bill. Negotiations have come to a stop and the United States federal government shutdown of 2013 is in progress. President Obama