By Heather Brown


MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — On Thursday afternoon, President Donald Trump said he would not sign a bill to keep the government running. Instead, he wants more money for his border wall.

If the president and Congress do not come up with compromise before Friday, which could partially shut down the federal government.

So, how common is that? Good Question.

Government shutdowns often include that word “partial” in the term because the government doesn’t completely shut down. They are also called “funding gaps” because it’s a time where the budget isn’t passed and the government isn’t being funded.

“Think about it. It the government totally shut down, the military would get laid off, the prisons would open up, Grandma wouldn’t get her Social Security check,” said David Schultz, a professor of political science at Hamline University.

Schultz estimate about 20 percent of the government shuts down, usually with what are considered discretionary activities. Closing of national parks is one of the most visible signs.

(credit: CBS)

Since 1977, a year after Congress revamped how budgets are passed, partial government shutdowns have happened 20 times.

About half the shutdowns last three days or less. Sometimes — like the nine-hour one this February – they don’t even last long enough to shut down the government activities.

The longest lasted 21 days between December of 1995 and January of 1996, which was a big fight between Congress and President Clinton over the federal budget.

In general, federal furloughed employees are paid retroactively once the government opens again. Members of Congress, though, are paid during a shutdown. During the 2013 shutdown, most of the Minnesota delegation reported to WCCO-TV that its members either donated or withheld their salaries for those days.

There are several ways to measure the costs of shutting down the government. They include the actual costs of opening and closing as well as the impact on the economy when more than 800,000 federal workers go without a paycheck. In 2013, Standard & Poor’s estimated the 15-day shutdown in 2013 cost $24 billion.

“These shutdowns are quite costly for the United States,” said Schultz. “It would actually be cheaper to just keep the government going than it would be to shut it down.”

Heather Brown

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