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Government shutdowns in the United States

Government shutdowns in United States politics refer to a funding gap period that causes a full or partial shutdown of federal government operations and agencies. They are caused when there is a failure to pass sufficient appropriation bills or a temporary continuing resolution (CR) to fund the government for a fiscal year, and primarily occur when there is a disagreement over a proposed appropriation bill from Republicans or Democrats within the House of Representatives or the Senate, and the current President of the United States. Per the current interpretation of the 1884 Antideficiency Act, a “lapse of appropriation” due to a political impasse on proposed appropriation bills requires that the US federal government curtail agency activities and services, close down non-essential operations and thus furlough non-essential workers, and retain essential employees in departments covering the safety of human life and/or protection of property - voluntary services in these respective essential areas may only be accepted during emergencies.


  • Mechanism 

  • Effects 

  • List of federal shutdowns