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Most have been updated within the past year, but some have not been updated since a previous shutdown threat in late The same agencies that were shut down in January would shut down again. In that case, an estimated , employees were furloughed at the beginning of the late early shutdown, a smaller number than usual as large federal employers such as the VA and the Department of Defense were already funded. Another , employees reported to work but did not receive pay until the shutdown ended. As the shutdown continued, departments and agencies recalled an increasing number of employees, including at the IRS and the State Department.

Furloughed employees are not allowed to work and do not receive paychecks, but are guaranteed back pay due to legislation passed in January Contractors have historically not received back pay.


If any future full shutdowns are handled similarly to recent ones in and early , which covered the entire federal government, approximately , of 2. In , most of the , civilian employees of the Department of Defense were summoned back to work within a week. Whereas discretionary spending must be appropriated every year, mandatory spending is authorized either for multi-year periods or permanently.

Thus, mandatory spending generally continues during a shutdown. However, some services associated with mandatory programs may be diminished if there is a discretionary component to their funding. For instance, during the shutdowns and the shutdown, Social Security checks continued to go out.

However, staff who handled new enrollments and other services, such as changing addresses or handling requests for a new Social Security card, were initially furloughed in In , certain activities were discontinued, including verifying benefits and providing new and replacement cards, but processing of benefit applications or address changes continued. During the shutdown, the Department of Agriculture had to rely on a special authority included in the previous CR to allow them to continue to make payments for SNAP benefits.

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An hours-long lapse in appropriations in February , though sometimes characterized as a shutdown, did not result in federal employee furloughs. However, before , the government did not shut down but rather continued normal operations through six funding gaps. Since , 10 funding gaps of three days or less have occurred, mostly over a weekend when government operations were only minimally affected.

The third was in when the House and Senate standoff on funding the Affordable Care Act resulted in a day shutdown. The fourth shutdown, starting in December and continuing into January , centered on a dispute over border wall funding and lasted 35 days.

Government shutdowns in the United States - Wikipedia

While estimates vary widely, evidence suggests that shutdowns tend to cost, not save, money. For one, putting contingency plans in place has a real cost. In addition, many user fees and other charges are not collected during a shutdown. Contractors sometimes include premiums in their bids to account for uncertainty in being paid. And although many federal employees are forced to be idle during a shutdown, they have historically received back pay, negating much of those potential savings.

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Shutdowns also have a cost to the economy. On top of that effect, CBO notes that longer shutdowns negatively affect private-sector investment and hiring decisions as businesses cannot obtain federal permits and certifications or cannot access federal loans.

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Theoretically, the House and Senate Appropriations committees are supposed to pass 12 different appropriations bills, broken up by subject area and based on funding levels allocated in a budget resolution. Five of the 12 appropriations bills for FY have passed both chambers and been signed by the President in the form of two minibuses, accounting for three-quarters of discretionary funding and ensuring those functions will not be at risk for shutting down until the start of FY Oct.

The House and Senate agreed to a continuing resolution for the other seven appropriations bills to end the partial shutdown on January 25, and that measure would fund those bills through February For more about the status of specific appropriations bills, see Appropriations Watch: FY A continuing resolution temporarily funds the government in the absence of full appropriations bills, often by continuing funding levels from the prior year. Traditionally, CRs have been used to give lawmakers a short period of time to complete their work on remaining appropriations bills while keeping the government operating.

CRs sometimes apply to only a few categories of spending, but they can also be used to fund all discretionary functions and can be used for an entire year. Even when overall funding levels have differed, lawmakers have often simply scaled up all accounts by a percent change in spending rather than making individual decisions on spending accounts.

Here we go again, again. With government funding set to expire at the end of the week and no deal on the table, it is possible that the government will shut down for the second time in three years or at least require another Continuing Resolution. While the Bipartisan Budget Act of set topline spending levels above the previous sequester caps, there is no set agreement on exactly how that money should be spent and which policies ought to accompany it in an omnibus appropriations bill. To help prepare for a possible shutdown, CRFB has released an updated primer on what happens in and the the consequences of a government shutdown.

It answers 14 different questions:. The primer goes into many aspects of government shutdowns, ranging from lawmakers' progression on avoiding one to passing a CR.

Government Shutdown

Overall, it is a helpful reminder of why it's best that they come to an agreement rather than let the government shutdown. Dec 8, Other Spending. Fiscal Policy. Investopedia uses cookies to provide you with a great user experience. By using Investopedia, you accept our. Your Money. Personal Finance. Your Practice.

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What Is a Government Shutdown? Key Takeaways A government shutdown happens when nonessential government offices can no longer remain open due to lack of funding. Government shutdowns happen when a federal budget is not approved. Most government agencies will close during a shutdown, however some essential workers must continue to work but may be furloughed for pay. Veterans' benefits and unemployment payments will continue, unaffected. Long duration government shutdowns will affect the entire American economy.

Other effects may extend to:. The inspection of some food products for safety Recall of unsafe products by the Consumer Product Safety Commission CPSC The inability of gun owners to obtain permits Travelers will not receive new passports Preschool or after school program cancelation The Center for Disease Control Prevention CDC being unable to identify and track outbreaks of illness.

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Appropriations for the federal government are decided by Congress through various committees while a company might appropriate money for short-term or long-term needs. Trumponomics Trumponomics describes the economic policies of U. President Donald Trump, who won the November 8, , presidential election on the back of bold economic promises to cut personal and corporate taxes, restructure trade deals and introduce large fiscal stimulus measures focused on infrastructure and defense.

Federal Budget The federal budget is an itemized plan for the annual public expenditures of the United States. Congress Congress is the legislative branch of the United States government responsible for making laws, and helping to balance out the power of the executive and judicial branches.