President Trump recently threatened a federal government shutdown if his proposed border wall is not financed. CNN reported:
(Donald Trump’s) threat to shutter the government over wall funding could have ramifications that stretch far beyond US shores, ahead of a deadline next month on raising the debt ceiling, without which the US government would default. ‘Believe me, if we have to close down our government, we're building that wall,’ Trump said.
In a written statement Wednesday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell did not directly address the president’s comments on the border wall, but suggested he does not want to hold basic federal funding hostage over this issue. He wrote that his team was working with the White House to ’prevent a government default’ and ‘fund the government.’
Federal government shutdowns and shutdown threats have occurred in the United States sporadically over several decades. However, Donald Trump is the first president in the last twenty-five years to threaten to shut down the federal government when his party is in control of both the House and Senate.
Here is a look at federal government shutdowns during the past twenty-five years:
- 1990: President George H.W. Bush refused, according to The Washington Post, “to sign any continuing resolution into law unless it was paired with a deficit reduction plan, and backed up the pledge by vetoing one that made it to his desk. The House failed to override his veto and the conflict was not resolved before a shutdown.” The Democrats controlled the Senate and George Mitchell (D-ME) was majority leader. They also controlled the House, under speaker Tom Foley.
- 1995: Republican Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich (R-GA) and Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole (R-KS) wielded a great deal of power at the time and used it to moderate President Bill Clinton’s policies. The shutdown from Nov 13-19, 1995 was not the last conflict that Clinton would have with Republican leadership during his second term.
- Late 1995, early 1996: Gridlock came to Washington as President Clinton and Speaker Newt Gingrich battled it out again, this time for 21 days. The shutdown centered around federal government spending levels, CNN reported.
- 2013: Republicans controlled the House in 2013 and caused a partial government shutdown after trying to lower budgets related to President Obama’s healthcare law, The New York Times reported. The Senate at the time was under Democratic control and Harry Reid (D-NA) was the majority leader.
Republicans currently control both the House and the Senate. If this Republican president were like his predecessors, he would be using his party’s control of Washington to get legislation passed. Instead, President Trump is pursuing his own unique and unclear agenda.