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The Longest Government Shutdown in US History

Updated: Jan 20, 2020

On December 22, 2019, the government was shutdown for 35 days, causing it to be the longest government shutdown in US history. With the shutdown, came many problems that affected our government in several ways.

A federal government shutdown occurs when spending bills expire, and the president and Congress find themselves in a situation where no progress is possible because of disagreement. This specific shutdown occurred because of Trump’s desire to fulfill his campaign promise for a border wall. Since the beginning of Trump’s term, he has been fixated on building a wall to add border security near Mexico. However, when President Trump had asked Congress for a large sum of money needed for border funds, they deliberately refused. For the most part, the Democrats, which are the house majority, declined funding for the wall.

As a result of this disagreement, the government was shutdown. It had been the first since 2013, when President Barack Obama had shutdown the government in regard of Obamacare. Counting these events, there have been 18 shutdowns since 1976. However, none of them had lasted the 35 days of the most recent shutdown.

This shutdown has affected our country in many ways. It cost the economy a total of 11 billion dollars. 3 billion of these dollars are gone forever, and are unable to be regained. Along with this issue, the shutdown greatly affected the lives of government employees. 800,000 federal workers were left without a paycheck for these 35 days. Employees were essentially working for free. Many had been forced to work part-time jobs to make a living. Others relied on food banks to support their families. As former federal human-resources official John Palaguta puts it,”A shutdown is a huge waste of taxpayer dollars, disruptive of government operations, and simply bad management.” After this shutdown came to an end, these workers were doing their best to get their departments back up and running.

The shutdown halted when the president had made a deal with Congress. This deal only ensures that the government will remain open for three weeks, until the fifteenth of February. Even after this event had come to an end, Trump remained stubborn in his desires. The president continued to demand that Congress should give him 5.7 billion dollars in border wall funds. If Congress continues to refuse the amount, President Trump suggested that he could shut the government again. According to White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders, “the president doesn’t want to go through another shutdown. That’s not the goal. The goal is border security.” This event continues to affect our nation today, and will proceed to do so for many years to come.

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