The history of US government shutdowns in 1 chart

Story highlights

  • The government must pass a spending bill by next Friday to avert a shutdown
  • It would mark the 19th spending gap in recent American history


Six more days. $0 left to run the government. Is the 19th government shutdown around the corner?
While bipartisan lawmakers are negotiating on spending and immigration, the federal government is slated to run out of money next Friday. The two parties are deadlocked: Democrats insist on a solution for recipients of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, Republicans are pushing for more border security and the White House says they must build the wall.
    Lawmakers faced a similar deadline in December, but they passed a spending bill on December 21 to keep the government open for another month. Now, though, some Democrats -- nine of whom are necessary to pass a bill through the US Senate -- insist on addressing DACA and other priorities before the deadline.
    Over the last four decades, the federal government has failed to pass funding bills by the necessary deadlines nearly 20 times, according to data from the Congressional Research Service.
    The most recent shutdown lasted more than two weeks in 2013 under President Barack Obama and a divided Congress. The GOP-led House of Representatives pushed for stripping funding for Obamacare. The Democratic-led Senate and the White House wanted to maintain funding levels.
    The longest government shutdown stretched three weeks, from December 1995 into January 1996, under President Bill Clinton and a Republican-led Congress.
    New guidelines from the attorney general in 1980 and 1981 instructed the federal government to stop normal operations during a funding gap, so gaps before those dates did not result in a full government shutdown.
    What a government shutdown means for you
    What a government shutdown means for you


      What a government shutdown means for you


    What a government shutdown means for you 01:10
    A shutdown later this month would mark the first time since these attorney general opinions that the government has shut down under a single-party White House and Congress.
    A working group of six US senators said earlier this week that they had reached an agreement, including a solution on continuing the DACA program, but the White House said any agreement must include funding for the border wall.
    Eight in 10 Americans -- including majorities of Democrats, Republicans and independents -- say DACA recipients should be able to stay in the United States and have a path to citizenship, according to a Quinnipiac University poll this week.