- The government shutdown entered day 22 at midnight Eastern
Time, setting the record for the longest shutdown of the modern
- The shutdown surpassed the 21-day shutdown of 1995 and 1996 as
the longest ever.
- The shutdown does not appear to be close to ending as President
Donald Trump and Democrats remain dug in to their positions on the
president’s request for $5 billion to build a US-Mexico border
- The shutdown has also left 800,000 federal workers with no
- Airport security, food inspections, mortgage services, national
parks, and more are being affected by the shutdown.
The partial shutdown of the federal government officially became
the longest of the modern budgeting era on Saturday, as it entered
day 22 with no end in sight.
By making it into the fourth week, the
shutdown surpassed the 21-day funding lapse in 1995 and 1996 as
the longest since the modern budgeting system was implemented in
1974. Where the new bar will end up remains to be seen as President
Donald Trump and Democrats appear to be nowhere close to resolving
the standoff over money for the president’s long-promised wall
along the US-Mexico border, despite constant discussions and
Well, how did we get here?
While the fight probably started as soon as Trump declared that
he would build a wall along the US-Mexico border if elected in
2016, the shutdown officially started on December 22 — after
Trump refused to support a bill that extended funding for some
government agencies through February 8.
The Senate had passed the clean funding bill just days before
federal funding expired, and Trump was poised to sign off on the
measure before pushback from conservative TV pundits, such as Ann
Coulter, swayed the president. Trump suddenly declared that the
clean funding bill was not agreeable, leading to a standoff with
The two sides barely talked over the holiday break, and talks in
the new year have been acrimonious at best. In fact, Trump has even
gone so far as to suggest that
he could try and declare a national emergency in order to get
funds for the wall, bypassing Congress altogether.
The most recent round of negotiations ended when Trump stormed
out of the Situation Room after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi flatly
refused to fund the president’s wall, even if the government was
reopened. According to Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, Trump
slammed the table on his way out, but the White House disputed the
Trump’s tweet after the encounter on Wednesday probably serves
as a neat summation of the state of affairs.
“Just left a meeting with Chuck and Nancy, a total waste of
time,” Trump said. “I asked what is going to happen in 30 days if I
quickly open things up, are you going to approve Border Security
which includes a Wall or Steel Barrier? Nancy said, NO. I said
bye-bye, nothing else works!”
Once in a lifetime
shutdown marks the 21st time since the budget process was
overhauled in 1974 that the federal government has experienced a
The previous shutdowns have averaged eight days, but the current
shutdown will push that average up to at least 8 1/2 days.
Shutdowns have also been getting longer recently.
Excluding the nine-hour shutdown in February 2018
caused by Sen. Rand Paul, shutdowns since 1990 have averaged 11
The current government shutdown is also only the 10th shutdown
to have workers on furlough, with the practice becoming much more
common in recent years. Every shutdown since 1990, save the Rand
Paul lapse, has forced workers to go on furlough.
Additionally, Trump is the only president to place federal
employees on furlough while one party controlled both chambers of
Congress — which Republicans did during both the January 2018
shutdown and the current one.
The current shutdown is also the only funding lapse during which
a chamber of Congress changed party control. Democrats took over
the House on January 3.
The latest shutdown also marks a total of three funding lapses
during Trump’s presidency, giving him the third most of any
president, behind former President Jimmy Carter’s five and former
President Ronald Reagan’s eight. Trump also ranks fourth in total
shutdown days for modern presidents, behind Carter’s 67 days and
the 28-day mark shared by former President Bill Clinton and
And 2018 became just the second year of the modern era to have
three funding lapses, tying 1977’s record.
Letting the days go by
As the shutdown drags on, the effects from the government
closures are becoming more and more noticeable.
The shutdown does not affect all agencies because Congress
passed bills to fund some departments, such as the departments of
Defense and Energy in September, but there are many departments
that are closed, including the departments of Agriculture,
Commerce, Justice, Homeland Security, the Interior, State,
Transportation, and the Housing and Urban Development.
Some 420,000 workers at those agencies have been deemed
“essential” and therefore are continuing to work without pay during
the closure. The other 380,000 have been furloughed, or barred from
coming into work and left without pay.
The essential workers will immediately receive back pay when the
shutdown ends, and Congress passed a bill on Friday that would give
the furloughed workers back pay once the government reopens. Trump
still needs to sign the bill.
In addition to the lost paychecks, there is a slew of other
problems caused by the shutdown, including:
Airport security and
flight safety are deteriorating.
- National parks have seen
destruction of wildlife and
piles of waste.
Rent assistance for low-income Americans is frozen.
Most food inspections by the FDA have stopped, increasing the
chance of a food-poisoning outbreak.
US Forest Service is unable to prepare for the upcoming
- For more on the government shutdown, check out
all of our coverage:
- From airport
lines to food inspections, here are all the ways the government
shutdown is impacting the lives of average Americans
workers affected by the government shutdown have more than $400
million in mortgage and rent payments due this month, and it could
cause chaos for the US housing market
- Here’s what
happens to Social Security and disability benefits during a
- Here’s what
happens to food stamps and other federal food programs during the
- Local officials in Washington, DC,
joked about cutting off the White House’s running water after the
shutdown forced the federal government to delay paying its
Some federal workers received their
first $0 paycheck Friday because of the government shutdown but
there is some good news
Here’s how the government shutdown could affect the race between
Amazon and Microsoft for a $10 billion Pentagon cloud
Here’s what would happen if Trump declared a national emergency to
build his border wall
- This map shows which states have been
hit hardest by the shutdown, and blue states are faring
Over 80 US government websites have
become insecure or completely inaccessible because there are no
workers there to update security credentials
- Park rangers share fears of
unemployment as national parks overflow with garbage during the