DemDaily: When a Government Shuts Down

November 30, 2017

Amidst the firestorm of other headline news, the public is facing a potential shutdown of the United States Government.

government shutdown is the process the Executive Branch must enter into when Congress and the President fail to pass legislation, or a budget, funding government operations and agencies, and must therefore "shutdown" or close non-essential federal programs.

The Way It Works
Under the current budget process, Congress must appropriate funds by September 30th for the following fiscal year.  If lawmakers cannot come to an agreement, they may pass at least one continuing resolution (CR) that funds the government through an extended period, to allow for further negotiation.

Image: Vice

If Congress still can't agree, then that forces a shutdown.

A shutdown then becomes essentially a showdown between the two parties over aspects of the federal budget until they can be resolved.

It results in the temporary shutting down of non-essential government agency activities, and the furlough of approximately 850,000 non-essential personnel.

Who is Affected?
Most immediately, those who depend on government services, and those providing them. Ultimately, the public.

"Essential" services involving defense, national safety, and security stay operational. Otherwise, major departments are shutdown, including:

The government shutdown and seeming overreach of Republican's agenda helped Clinton's 1996 re-election

* Commerce, except National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
* Education * Energy, except functions that oversee the safety of the nation's nuclear arsenal, dams and transmission lines
* Environmental Protection Agency
* Food and Drug Administration
* Health and Human Services
* Housing and Urban Development
* Interior, including National Parks
* Internal Revenue Service
* Labor, including Bureau of Labor Statistics
* National Institute of Health
* Smithsonian

Since the current budget and appropriations process was first enacted under the Budget Act of 1974, there have been seven full shutdowns, lasting from one to 21 days at a time.  During Ronald Reagan's tenure there were three (1981,1984 and 1986), one in 1990 during the George H. W. Bush administration, two under Bill Clinton in 1995 and 1996, and one under Barack Obama in 2013.

On a practical level, shutdowns hurt our citizens. The 2013 16-day shutdown between the Republican -controlled House and the Democratic-controlled Senate over the GOP's attempt to defund the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare), resulted in an estimated $24 billion loss to the economy.

The Current Hold Up
The Roadblocks: defense spending, immigration, healthcare, and the tax plan - which Republicans want to pass before they focus on a spending bill.

     Going on Now at The US Capitol! 

Status: There is currently a continuing resolution in effect through December 8th.  If Congress does not agree by then on the budget for fiscal year 2018, they may extend the CR until the end of the year, or shutdown the government.

DemList will keep you informed.

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Kimberly Scott

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Sources: Wikipedia, Congressional Research Service, The Washington Post, The Balance, Standard and Poor, Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget

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