Longest Government Shutdown in U.S. History Comes to a Close

Rebekah Brancato   News Editor

Lasting 35 days and affecting at least 800,000 federal employees, the longest government shutdown in United States history finally came to a close on Jan. 25, 2019, after President Trump approved a stopgap funding bill that would allow the government to reopen for three weeks.

The government shutdown began on Dec. 22, 2018, due to a disagreement between Congress and President Trump over an appropriations bill that would fund the federal government for the 2019 fiscal year. Specifically, the disagreements concerned funding for a U.S.-Mexico border wall. President Trump, driven to make good on his campaign promises, adamantly vetoed any bill that would not allow $5.7 billion funds for the border wall.

The stopgap bill that ended the shutdown, which does not include border wall funding, will fund the federal government for three weeks and includes back pay for federal employees who were not paid during the shutdown. These three weeks allow for negotiations to take place to approve a bi-partisan appropriations bill. However, President Trump stated that if both parties fail to meet an agreement by Feb. 15, the government may be shut down again, or he may even declare a national emergency.
President Trump tweeted Friday night that “This was in no way a concession. It was taking care of millions of people who were getting badly hurt by the Shutdown with the understanding that in 21 days, if no deal is done, it’s off to the races!”

Whether the blame for the shutdown lies on Democrats or Republicans, they seem to agree on one thing: they do not want another shutdown. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) stated, “I don’t like shutdowns. I don’t think they work for anybody, and I hope they will be avoided.” Senator Rob Portman (R-Ohio) also stated, “There is a building consensus on both sides of the aisle that shutdowns don’t make sense and that we ought to put legislative prohibitions in place to keep us from ever shutting down again.”

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