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Winners & losers: Past government shutdowns and how they ended

The federal government has gone through 21 shutdowns and funding gaps since 1976. Here's a look at each one.
Jimmy Carter
President Jimmy Carter in October 1978.Bob Daugherty / AP file

Here's every shutdown and funding gap — and how they ended — since the current budgeting system was enacted in 1976, based on information from the Congressional Research Service and media reports.

Shutdown end dates were compiled using the final day of the shutdowns as a marker, instead of the day the government reopened:


9/30/76 - 10/10/76 (10 days)

President Gerald Ford's veto over funding for the Departments of Labor and Health, Education and Welfare is overridden by the Democrat-controlled Congress.


10/1/77 - 10/12/77 (12 days)

The Democrat-controlled House and Senate let funding lapse in a fight over loosening Medicaid restrictions on abortion. They eventually agree to keep negotiating ...

11/1/77 - 11/8/77 (8 days)

... and let funding lapse in a fight over loosening Medicaid restrictions on abortion. They eventually agree to keep negotiating ...

12/1/77 - 12/8/77 (8 days)

… and finally strike a deal.

10/1/78 - 10/17/78 (18 days)

President Jimmy Carter vetoes bills because of "wasteful" spending on a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier and a public works project. Both are later removed.

10/1/79 - 10/11/79 (11 days)

Another House fight over abortion funding, which ends with Congress getting a 5 percent raise.


11/21/81 - 11/23/81 (3 days)

President Ronald Reagan vetoes an emergency spending bill because it doesn't contain enough cuts. More cuts are added after federal workers are furloughed for the first time.

9/30/82 - 10/1/82 (1 day)

Congress didn't pass bills in time, but went ahead with a planned barbecue at the White House and a pricey fundraiser.

12/18/82- 12/20/82 (3 days)

The Democrat-controlled House successfully fended off Reagan's desire to fund the MX missile project.

11/11/83 - 11/13/83 (3 days)

Reagan gets his MX missile funding, but Democrats get other defense cuts.

10/1/84 - 10/2/84 (2 days)

Reagan and the Democrats tussle over a crime bill Reagan wanted and a water project he didn't.

10/4/84 (1 day)

After another brief shutdown, Reagan gets his crime bill and the water project is tossed.

10/17/86 (1 day)

A fight over welfare expansion ends in compromise.

12/19/87 (1 day)

Reagan and the Democrats strike a deal to keep funding Contra militants in Nicaragua, which Dems had resisted.


10/6/90- 10/8/90 (3 days)

President George H.W. Bush refuses to sign a continuing resolution unless it’s paired with a deficit reduction plan. He gets his way.


11/14/95- 11/18/95 (5 days)

President Bill Clinton and Republicans spar over provisions to raise Medicare premiums and balance the budget in a shutdown sparked in part because House Speaker Newt Gingrich felt snubbed by having to exit Air Force One from the back of the plane after a trip to Israel. They eventually agree to keep negotiating.

12/16/95- 1/5/96 (21 days)

The negotiations didn’t go well, leading to the longest shutdown in U.S. history. Clinton gets the balanced budget plan he wanted.

Barack Obama, Joe Biden, Steve Israel, Chris Van Hollen, Steny Hoyer, Nancy Pelosi, James Clyburn, Xavier Becerra, Joseph Crowley,
President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden meet with Democratic Leadership in the Oval Office on Oct. 15, 2013, as a partial government shutdown was in its third week. Pablo Martinez Monsivais / AP file


10/1/13 - 10/16/13 (16 days)

A Republican bid to defund President Barack Obama's Affordable Care Act ends in failure after a shutdown that cost the country an estimated $24 billion.


1/20/18 - 1/22/18 (3 days)

The government shuts down after a failed bid by Democrats to force protections for so-called Dreamers from President Donald Trump.

2/9/18 (1 day)

A procedural tactic used by Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., results in the government unofficially shutting down for nine hours.

12/22/18- ?

After the Senate passes a clean budget, Trump demands an additional $5 billion for his proposed wall on the southern border. The Democrats refuse, leading to a stalemate.