Biden avoids partial government shutdown


Gibson McMonagle, Staff

Header Image: National Geographic Society

With very little time left, President Biden signs Legislation to avoid partial government shutdown and keep government funding until Dec. 3.  

Government shutdowns occur when there are funding gaps in the federal budget. Since 1976 there have been a total of 22 funding gaps, ten of which have led to employees being furloughed. During the 1980s, funding gaps started to lead to government shutdowns due to the opinion of Attorney General Benjamin Civiletti, who suggested the government shut down during those times. The opinion was not always listened to, but since that time, most funding gaps lasting more than a few hours have led to government shutdowns. 

Government shutdowns cause the disruption of government services and programs. National parks and institutions also shut down during this time due to shortage of employees. Some of the most significant shutdowns in history include the 21-day shutdown during the Bill Clinton administration, the 16-day shutdown during the Barack Obama administration and the 35-day shutdown during the Donald Trump administration.  

The economy is mostly affected when a shutdown occurs. The government mostly loses their revenue due to having to pay furloughed employees as well as not being paid back fees because the businesses are not running. During longer shutdowns the economy starts to take a toll. In 2013 the shutdown had taken $24 billion out of the economy and shaved 0.6 of annualized fourth quarter GDP growth. 

On Sept. 30, President Biden had signed legislation to keep government funding through Dec. 3. This happened with hours to spare since the current budget year ended at midnight. The house approved the short-term funding 254-175 shortly after it went through the senate 65-35. Passing this legislation has allowed more time for lawmakers to craft the spending measures that will fund federal agencies. 

After the success of signing the legislation, Biden stated, “There’s so much more to do, but the passage of this bill reminds us that bipartisan work is possible, and it gives us time to pass longer-term funding to keep our government running and delivering for the American people.” 

The short-term spending legislation will provide roughly $28.6 billion in disaster relief for those affected and recovering from hurricane Ida and other natural disasters. $10 billion of that will be used to help farmers cover crop loss from disasters such as fires, droughts and flooding. Additionally, $6.3 billion will be used to help support the resettlement of Afghanistan evacuees from the war between the U.S. and the Taliban. Once the government is funded temporarily, the Democrats will go back to their original plan of raising the limit of federal borrowing, which is currently at $28.4 trillion.

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