Past Government Shutdowns

Associated Press

Squabbles between Congress and the President have disrupted federal spending authority nine times since 1981, but workers were sent home only four times. Only one shutdown lasted more than a day, and it fell on a holiday weekend.

* November, 1981: President Ronald Reagan vetoed an emergency money bill, sending about 400,000 employees home at midday. Congress rushed him a new version of the bill 10 hours later, and workers returned to their jobs the next day.

* October, 1984: Congress failed to approve a budget bill, and about 500,000 workers were sent home. Later the same day, the Senate adopted an emergency spending measure that allowed workers to return the next morning.

* October, 1986: More than 500,000 workers missed half a day of work. When Congress passed an appropriations bill acceptable to Reagan, employees were ordered to report for their next shift.


* October, 1990: Congress rejected President George Bush’s spending plan, shutting down the government throughout the three-day Columbus Day weekend. Most workers were off for the holiday anyway. An emergency spending bill cleared Congress before dawn Tuesday, and work resumed as normal.