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How long did the longest government shutdown stretch? 21 days

Government shutdowns aren't that rare anymore. They've happened many times over the past four decades, stret...

Posted: Jan 9, 2019 4:10 PM
Updated: Jan 9, 2019 4:10 PM

Government shutdowns aren't that rare anymore. They've happened many times over the past four decades, stretching back to the Carter administration.

That begs the question: what was the longest shutdown in US history?

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That would be the 21-day clash between President Bill Clinton and the GOP Congress that stretched from December 1995 to January 1996.

It lasted three weeks

Congressional Republicans clashed with Clinton, a Democrat, over federal spending. The Republicans refused to OK a spending bill because they wanted the Democrats and the White House to, among other things, agree to deep cuts to Medicare and Medicaid.

The GOP also wanted the White House to rely on Congressional Budget Office figures for their budget calculations, which weren't as optimistic as projections from the administration's Office of Management and Budget.

The shutdown ended after 21 full days -- from December 16, 1995 to January 5, 1996. And it did so only after Clinton bowed to a key Republican demand: submitting a seven-year balanced budget plan scored by the Congressional Budget Office.

The public blamed the Republicans

It wasn't the only shutdown during the Clinton administration. An earlier one lasted five days, from November 14 to November 19, 1995.

The shutdown was clearly blamed on the Republicans, according to polls conducted at the time. The Republicans controlled the House and Senate at the time even though the Democratic Clinton, was in the White House.

Some form of a government shutdown also occurred during other administrations. Here's a look back. And it wasn't always over money. The government has also shut down over abortions and an aircraft carrier.

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