President Trump has threatened to completely shut down the southern border.The government is on the seventh day of a total shutdown as the result of a showdown over funding for a border wall.
WASHINGTON – If the current government shutdown were a movie, it would be a remake. The partial shutdown of federal agencies that began a week ago marks the twenty-first time Americans have watched this tale of conflict and stalemate.
Many of the past dramas drew less notice because of their brevity.
The deadlock between President Donald Trump and Democrats is in its second week — still far from three-week saga during the 1990s. But as it drags on, the fight over funding for Trump’s proposed border wall is evoking comparisons to the ’90s budget fight and other past standoffs.
If there is any lesson from the past shutdowns, it would appear that a resolution comes when public frustration with the inaction begins to boil over. So, keep an eye on the polls to see whether the public sides with Trump or congressional Democrats.
Here is a look at the four longest government shutdowns, why they happened and the fallout from each.
Clinton vs. Gingrich
Duration: 21 days, began Dec. 5, 1995, ended Jan. 6, 1996
What happened: This titanic political battle between Democratic President Bill Clinton and Republican House Speaker Newt Gingrich holds the record for the longest shutdown.
It was the second standoff between the two, both over taxes, and came just a month after a five-day shutdown from Nov. 13-19. 2015.
Gingrich and other congressional Republicans wanted to reduce spending. Clinton refused to make the cuts they wanted. Gingrich then refused to raise the debt limit. The shutdown ended when the two sides agreed to a seven-year budget plan with some spending cuts and tax increases.
Polls gave Clinton the nod in this duel. His approval ratings rose and he was elected to a second term that fall. Many criticized Gingrich for his behavior during this time, especially when he complained about being forced to exit Air Force One from the back of the plane.
Carter vs. Congress
Duration: 18 days, began Sept. 30, 1978, ended Oct. 18, 1978.
What happened: Democratic President Jimmy Carter found himself at odds with Congress even though Democrats controlled both the House and Senate. Carter vetoed a defense bill that included funding for a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier and public works legislation that included funding for water projects.
He saw these projects as wasteful spending. More critically, funding for the Department of Health, Education and Welfare was delayed because of a dispute involving Medicaid funding for abortion.
Carter succeeded in getting the projects he opposed stripped from legislation and the House and Senate passed a bill that expanded the exceptions to the Medicaid abortion ban to include rape and incest.
Obamacare or bust
Duration: 16 days, began Oct. 1, 2013, ended Oct. 17, 2013
What happened: Republicans in Congress sought to delay or defund the Affordable Care Act, known as Obamacare, after failing in their efforts at outright repeal. They attempted to force President Barack Obama’s hand by approving a temporary measure that would fund the government but would cut funding to implement Obamacare.
The Senate, controlled by Democrats, rejected the plan. The resulting impasse shut down the government. The standoff ended when Republicans conceded defeat and a deal was worked out to reopen the government. Polls showed that Republicans took the brunt of the blame.
Duration: 12 days, began Sept. 30, 1977, ended Oct. 13, 1977.
What happened: This was the period when Democrats controlled both Houses of Congress and the White House. Still, the House and Senate could not agree on the exceptions to the ban on Medicaid funding for abortions.
House Democrats wanted to continue a ban on using Medicaid to pay for abortions, except in cases when the mother’s life was in jeopardy. Senate Democrats wanted funding to be allowed in cases of rape or incest.
The shutdown ended when a short-term funding bill was passed that allowed for more time for the two sides to negotiate. Republicans ended up benefiting politically because it was an intraparty fight among Democrats that had shuttered government.
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