Maggie: The government is finally open, so we can add this recent government shutdown to the history books! Demetirus Pipkin has the backstory on our government shutdown past.
Jay Carney: End the shutdown now. Reopen the government now.
Demetrius: It is not the first time…
Obama: The American people are completely fed up with Washington.
Demetrius: …And it most certainly won’t be the last.
Representative John Boehner: The American people don’t want their government shutdown, and neither do I.
Demetrius: But over the past few weeks, that is exactly what the American people have been dealing with – a partial government shutdown that cut off aid programs and left hundreds of thousands of government employees out of work and unsure if and when they would be paid.
The reason? Congress wasn’t able to agree on a budget for the upcoming fiscal year that would allow the United States to pay its bills.
The government shutdown ended this week after 16 days when the House of Representatives and the senate finally agreed on a plan. But government shutdowns are not new. In fact, this one ranks as the 3rd longest shutdown out of eighteen that we have had in the past four decades.
Before 1980, most government shutdowns went unnoticed by the American people. That is because when lawmakers couldn’t agree on a budget, the federal workforce continued on as usual, leaving little pressure to force Congress to make a decision. But in 1980, Attorney General Benjamin Civiletti issued a legal opinion saying government work could not be continued until Congress agreed to pay for it.
Ronald Reagan: And the only choice left to a president is to literally close down the government by veto.
Demetrius: This led to the country’s first full government shutdown by President Reagan. Seven more would follow during his term in office, though none of them lasted more than three days. That was followed by another brief shutdown during President George H.W. Bush’s watch.
George Bush: We’re flexible. I’ve already compromised.
Demetrius: But the real trouble began in 1995…
Newt Gingrich: This is a real bill, which keeps the United States government open.
Demetrius: …When President Bill Clinton, a Democrat, got into a heated battle with leading Republicans at the time over how the government should spend money. This shutdown lasted five days until a compromise was negotiated.
Senator Bob Dole: In a bipartisan, non-partisan way.
Demetrius: But that compromise was short-lived and less than one month later, the government closed its doors again. This time for a record 21 days.
Protestor: This really makes us mad. Real mad.
Demetrius: That was 17 years ago, and it seems little has changed. And the irony of all of this? Government shutdowns, which are generally disputes over government spending, end up costing the government a lot of money. This last shutdown is estimated to cost the government about $24 billion. That is enough money to give a million students a full ride at their state college.
Demetrius Pipkin, Channel One News.
Maggie: And experts say the total cost could continue to grow. That is because the government shutdown caused things like canceled vacations, economic uncertainty and slow business sales which still cannot be accounted for.