The three-day partial government shutdown on President Donald Trump’s first anniversary in office had some marked differences from the last shutdown in 2013, aside from the duration.
“I’m pleased the Democrats in the Senate have come to their senses and are willing to fund our great military, border patrol, first responders and insurance for vulnerable children,” @POTUS says.
First of all, the shutdown that began Saturday wouldn’t be “weaponized” as in 2013, Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney promised.
Two obvious changes from the 2013 shutdown during the second Obama administration involved national tourist attractions and government transparency, said Kristine Simmons, vice president for government affairs at the Partnership for Public Service.
“There were administrative efforts [by the Trump administration] to minimize the effect on Americans, such as not closing the monuments and national parks,” Simmons, whose nonpartisan group focuses on effectiveness and efficiency in the federal government, told The Daily Signal.
Simmons, who was a special assistant to President George W. Bush on the Domestic Policy Council, added:
Another difference is after the dysfunction of budgeting in the Obama administration, the OMB [Office of Management and Budget] started to post contingency plans online, and post what positions would be deemed essential. That transparency allowed the public to see the OMB’s contingency plan, and whether agencies in the executive branch were consistent with what they told the OMB. The Trump administration benefited from familiarity, and they didn’t have to start from scratch [with this shutdown].
Senate Democrats led by Minority Leader Charles Schumer of New York blocked a short-term spending bill late Friday that would have kept the government open, demanding legal status for illegal immigrants brought to the country as minors.
However, on Monday, Democrats agreed to the Republican majority’s demand to reopen the government in exchange for a promised debate on the status of the “Dreamers,” as some call that subpopulation of illegal immigrants.
We will vote today to reopen the government, to continue negotiating a global agreement, with the commitment that, if an agreement is not reached by Feb 8th, the Senate will immediately proceed to consideration of legislation dealing with DACA. The process will be neutral fair.
— Chuck Schumer (@SenSchumer) January 22, 2018
Ensuring the shutdown had little impact on Americans and wasn’t “weaponized” was a big priority for Trump, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said. Most federal offices should be back to normal by Tuesday, Sanders said.
“It went much smoother than it has in the past,” Sanders said at the press briefing Monday.
“Also, the president was putting pressure [on Democrats] and standing firm on exactly what he was willing to do and what he wasn’t, and it very clearly worked,” Sanders continued. “We are back where we basically started on Friday, and the Democrats have allowed this to move forward.”
This was the first government shutdown to occur as a president marked the anniversary of his inauguration, as occurred Saturday. None of the previous 18 times Congress failed to pass a funding measure overlapped the presidential inauguration date of Jan. 20, according to a Congressional Research Service report in September.
While some may think of the 16-day government shutdown in 2013 or the 21-day shutdown in late 1995 to early 1996 as a frame of reference, the short length of this most recent shutdown is the rule and not the exception.
From 1982 through 1991, nine shutdowns lasted from one to three days, according to the Congressional Research Service report.
Lawmakers changed budget rules in 1976 to allow funding gaps that require the government to be shut down, explained the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, a fiscal watchdog group:
Since Congress introduced the modern budget process in 1976, there have been 18 ‘funding gaps,’ where funds were not appropriated for at least one day. However, before 1980, the government did not shut down but rather continued normal operations through six funding gaps. Between 1981 and 1994, all nine funding gaps occurred over a weekend, and government operations were only minimally affected.
The organization’s website says the two clashes between a Republican-led Congress and President Bill Clinton, a Democrat, and the clash between the Republican-led House and President Barack Obama, also a Democrat, were the only “true” shutdowns.
Why? Because each of those gaps in funding minimally affected government operations.
Of the 18 funding gaps, President Jimmy Carter, a Democrat, presided over five in his single term. Three came in 1978, despite a Democrat-led Congress.
During the two terms of President Ronald Reagan, a Republican, Congress allowed eight funding gaps. Democrats controlled the House for all eight years.
President George H.W. Bush saw one shutdown with a Democratic majority in Congress in 1991. Clinton had two with a Republican Congress, one lasting five days and the other 21.
Under Obama, the 16-day standoff occurred over funding the Affordable Care Act, popularly known as Obamacare.
“Shutdowns are typically shorter rather than longer, but they should never be normal,” the Partnership for Public Service’s Simmons said.
In a statement released Monday, Trump said:
I’m pleased the Democrats in the Senate have come to their senses and are willing to fund our great military, border patrol, first responders and insurance for vulnerable children. As I’ve always said, once the government is funded, my administration will work toward solving the problem of very unfair illegal immigration. We will make a long-term deal on immigration if and only if it’s good for our country.
The amount spent to pay federal employees for not working and the processing costs of stopping and restarting government contracts account for some of the waste of billions during a shutdown, Simmons said.
While it’s too early to know the cost of this shutdown, Standard Poor’s estimated the 2013 shutdown cost the economy $24 billion in paying federal employees for not working, canceling and restarting projects, and other expenses.
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