Donald Trump has set the record for the longest US government shutdown — here’s how the rest stack up – Donald Trump’s America
The US government shutdown under President Donald Trump has become the longest in recent history, beating out Bill Clinton’s record of 21 days.
With Mr Trump walking out of meetings with the opposition Democrats over the lack of funding for his border wall with Mexico, his administration set a new record when the impasse hit 22 days on the second weekend in January.
Since a new congressional budget law passed in 1974 — under which new budget committees and offices were created and more power was delivered to Congress — there have been 21 federal funding gaps where the deadline for Congress to approve new spending has passed.
Frustrated government workers have staged rallies urging an end to the shutdown. (ABC News: Emily Olson)
While described as government shutdowns, not all of these funding gaps resulted in departments actually closing or sending workers home, with many of the impasses lasting just a day and business continuing as usual.
During many funding gaps, politicians quickly found a solution after the deadline passed. But not always.
Mr Trump has racked up three funding gaps, all this year — one lasting a day, another one for three days, and the current shutdown.
Here’s how they rank against the US’s top five shutdowns:
1. Donald Trump — 22 days and counting
The Democrats, who now control the House of Representatives, are blocking any funding bills that include money for Mr Trump’s border wall with Mexico.
Mr Trump wants $US5.7 billion ($7.9 billion) for the wall — a signature policy of his — and will not support the Democrats’ bill that keeps funding for Homeland Security at current levels.
There is no end in sight for the crisis, with Mr Trump recently using a prime-time TV address to frame the border debate as a national crisis, and the Democrats remaining unmoved on supporting wall funding, which they consider wasteful.
2. Bill Clinton — 21 days
Bill Clinton holds the record for the longest US government shutdown. (Reuters: William Philpott)
The Republican-controlled Congress wanted to slow government spending and proposed cuts to Mr Clinton’s 1996 federal budget.
He refused to sign the amended budget, wanting more money for health, education and the environment.
There were concessions and both sides worked together to balance the budget, ending the shutdown after a record 21 days that saw Mr Clinton’s approval ratings jump shortly before an election and damage the approval ratings of Republican Newt Gingrich, who was House speaker.
3. Jimmy Carter — 17 days
Jimmy Carter vetoed several funding bills he felt were wasteful. (Jimmy Carter Library/CC-BY-2.0)
Democratic president Jimmy Carter had a 17-day government shutdown in 1978 despite his party controlling both houses of Congress.
Mr Carter disagreed with several funding bills that included expenditure he felt was wasteful, and he vetoed them.
One was a defence bill that included money for a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier and another was a public works appropriations bill that included several water projects.
Controversial funding for abortion services also slowed things down, but all issues were eventually overcome, with funding for the aircraft carrier and water projects removed and an agreement reached on abortion.
4. Barack Obama — 16 days
US president Barack Obama did not let Republicans defund the Affordable Care Act. (Reuters: Jonathan Ernst)
The Republican-controlled House tried to poison a continuing appropriations bill in 2013 by including a provision that would defund the Affordable Care Act — also known as Obamacare.
The president, Barack Obama, would not support killing his signature healthcare policy and the Democrat-controlled Senate rejected the bill.
About 800,000 federal employees were stood down during the 16-day shutdown until the Republicans dropped their provision that would have gutted Obamacare.
Some minor concessions were made, but Mr Obama claimed victory and signed the new bill.
5. Jimmy Carter — 12 days
The House and Senate were at odds over abortion during the first shutdown of Jimmy Carter’s presidency. (Reuters: Library of Congress/Marion S Trikosko)
The first shutdown of the Carter presidency was over the contentious issue of abortion.
In 1977 the Democrats controlled both houses of Congress but they fought over the issue of federal Medicaid money being spend on abortion.
The House only supported money being spent on cases where the mother’s life was at stake, while the Senate wanted to loosen the rules and allow money to be used on abortions in cases of rape or incest.
The issue was never resolved during the 12-day shutdown, with both houses agreeing to keep the status quo so the government could re-open, but with the understanding that negotiations would continue.
Weeks later there was another shutdown and Mr Carter again signed a temporary reprieve.
Eventually there was a third shutdown which finally resolved the matter — the Senate got its way and the rules were loosened.
Which president had the most shutdowns?
Which decade was the worst for shutdowns?