Over the history of the U.S. Government, the government has faced 20 gaps in funding since 1976, of those 10 have resulted in partial or complete shutdowns of the U.S. government according to the History, Art & Archives of the United States House of Representatives.
With Democrats and Republicans debating over the next government funding bill and possible increase to the U.S. National Debt Limit, the next government shutdown would have began on October 1st 2021, if a deal wasn’t reached.
Could this happen in the future? A look back in time may reveal the answer.
How does the U.S. Government get funded?
According to the archives, spending bills must pass through both chambers of Congress (House and Senate) and be signed by the President to become law. These bills are conducted by Congress annually and are set to go into effect at beginning the beginning of the new fiscal year, October 1st.
What happens if Congress doesn’t pass a spending bill to fund the government?
If regular appropriation bills are not passed, Congress does have the option to pass a continuing resolution, a temporary stop-gap measure, to give members of Congress more time to pass an appropriation bill. If the continuation resolution expires without Congress appropriating new funds, parts of the federal government can experience a lapse in funding, leading to a shutdown.
How many times has the government shut down?
According to the archives, the U.S. government experienced 20 gaps in funding since the 1977 fiscal year (September 30, 1976). Of those, 10 have resulted in government shutdowns, the first reported in the 1983 fiscal year and the latest in the fiscal year of 2019.
Below is a list of all 20 funding gaps, including the 10 that resulted in government shutdowns, and the resolutions that restored funding:
|1977||September 30, 1976||10||October 11, 1976||No||H.J. Res. 1105|
Pub. L. 94-473
90 Stat. 2065
|1978||September 30, 1977||12||October 13, 1977||No||H.J. Res. 626|
Pub. L. 95-130
91 Stat. 1153
|1978||October 31, 1977||8||November 9, 1977||No||H.J. Res. 643|
Pub. L. 95-165
91 Stat. 1323
|1978||November 30, 1977||8||December 9, 1977||No||H.J. Res 662|
Pub. L. 95-205
91 Stat. 1460
|1979||September 30, 1978||17||October 18, 1978||No||H.R. 12929|
Pub. L. 95-480
92 Stat. 1567
Pub. L. 95-481
92 Stat. 1591
H.J. Res. 1139
Pub. L. 95-482
92 Stat. 1603
|1980||September 30, 1979||11||October 12, 1979||No||H.J. Res. 412|
Pub. L. 96-86
93 Stat. 656
|1982||November 20, 1981||2||November 23, 1981||Yes||H.J. Res. 368|
Pub. L. 97-85
95 Stat. 1098
|1983||September 30, 1982||1||October 2, 1982||Yes||H.J. Res. 599|
Pub. L. 97-276
96 Stat. 1186
|1983||December 17, 1982||3||December 21, 1982||No||H.J. Res. 631|
Pub. L. 97-377
96 Stat. 1830
|1984||November 10, 1983||3||November 14, 1983||No||H.J. Res 413|
Pub. L. 98-151
97 Stat. 964
|1985||September 30, 1984||2||October 3, 1984||No||H.J. Res. 653|
Pub. L. 98-441
98 Stat. 1699
|1985||October 3, 1984||1||October 5, 1984||Yes||H.J. Res. 656|
Pub. L. 98-453
98 Stat. 1731
|1987||October 16, 1986||1||October 18, 1986||Yes||H.J. Res. 738|
Pub. L. 99-500
100 Stat. 1783
Pub. L. 99-591
100 Stat. 3341
|1988||December 18, 1987||1||December 20, 1987||No||H.J. Res. 431|
Pub. L. 100-197
101 Stat. 1314
|1991||October 5, 1990||3||October 9, 1990||Yes||H.J. Res. 666|
Pub. L. 101-412
104 Stat. 894
|1996||November 13, 1995||5||November 19, 1995||Yes||H.R. 2020|
Pub. L. 104-52
109 Stat. 468
Pub. L. 104-53
109 Stat. 514
H.J. Res. 123
Pub. L. 104-54
109 Stat. 540
|1996||December 15, 1995||21||January 6, 1996||Yes||H.J. Res. 134|
Pub. L. 104-94
110 Stat. 25
|2014||September 30, 2013||16||October 17, 2013||Yes||H.R. 2775|
Pub. L. 113-46
127 Stat. 558
|2018||January 19, 2018||2||January 22, 2018||Yes||H.R. 195|
Pub. L. 115-120
132 Stat. 28
|2019||December 21, 2018||34||January 25, 2019||Yes||H.J. Res. 28|
Pub. L. 116-5
133 Stat. 10
Courtesy: History, Art & Archives of the United States House of Representatives.
How could the 2022 Fiscal Year have the next U.S. Government Shutdown?
On Monday, Senate Republicans blocked a bill to fund the government at current levels and suspend the debt ceiling. Republicans and Democrats are at odds over a plan to raise the debt ceiling, with Republicans saying they will not support a funding bill that includes the proposed increase.
Without a funding bill, the U.S. Government would have shut down starting midnight on Thursday, October 1st. If Congress was unable to raise the federal debt ceiling, the U.S. is on track to default on the national debt, for the first time in the nation’s history, according to The Hill.
What would happen if the U.S. defaults on the national debt?
According to CBS News, if the U.S. government cannot pay its bills, millions of Americans would be affected. Social Security payments would not go out; U.S. troops and federal civilian employees would not be paid. Veterans could see compensation or pension payments lapse. And millions of Americans on food assistance would see benefits stop.
CBS News also states financial services firm Moody’s Analytics stated a default would be a “catastrophic blow” to the economic recovery. Its analysis showed if lawmakers remained at odds after the debt ceiling was breached, nearly 6 million jobs would be lost, the unemployment rate would climb back up to nearly 9% and stock prices would be cut by almost a third, wiping out $15 trillion in household wealth.
Will the U.S. Government shutdown happen?
Short answer, no.
According to the United States Senate, H.R. 5305, a continuing resolution to fund the government, passed in the Senate by a 65 to 35 vote in favor of the resolution, over the 60-vote threshold needed for approval. According to the bill, federal agencies will remain funded through December 3rd.
According to CBS News, the House of Representatives have passed the continuing resolution, in a 254 to 175 vote in favor of the resolution.
According to The Hill, President Biden on Thursday signed a stopgap bill that will keep government funded through early December, officially averting a government shutdown for now.
While the government shutdown is on hold until December 3rd, Congress now has to act on the looming debt ceiling situation.
If the debt limit is not raised, the United States will default for the first time on the nation’s history on October 18th.