Government shutdown in the United States

In news

The United States started the week with the government in shutdown. The closure is only the fourth in 25 years and the first to occur when one party — the Republicans — controls both houses of Congress and the White House.

U.S. senators are struggling to agree on a bill to fund the government. Under Senate rules, the law needs 60 votes in the 100-member chamber to overcome blocking tactics by opponents.

The Republicans currently have 51 senators and would need some Democratic support to pass a budget.

Democrats want President Trump to protect 800,000 “Dreamers” – people brought to the U.S. illegally as children, who face deportation. Trump has responded, calling for the “nuclear option” of a simple-majority vote to end the impasse.

How does the shutdown occur?

In United States politics, a government shutdown occurs when Congress fails to pass and/or the President fails to sign appropriations: legislation funding government operations and agencies. In this case, the current interpretation of the Antideficiency Act requires that the federal government begin a “shutdown” of the affected activities involving the furlough of non-essential personnel and curtailment of agency activities and services.

Current Scenario

In 2018, under the Donald Trump administration, a shutdown began on January 20th at 12:00:01 AM (Saturday); essential services continue, but armed service personnel on duty, for example, would not be paid until the shutdown ends. This also includes federal government employees, some of which would still be required to report to work but would be not be paid until the government reopens.

Government shutdowns have the effect of disruption to government services and increased cost to the government due to lost labor.


While government shutdowns prior to the 1995–1996 shutdowns had very mild effects, a full federal government shutdown causes a large number of civilian federal employees to be furloughed.

The complete effects of a shutdown are often clouded by missing data that cannot be collected while specific government offices are closed.

Some effects of the shutdown are difficult to directly measure and are thought to cause residual impacts in the months following a shutdown.



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