When Was the Last Government Shutdown?


Quick Answer

As of October 2014, the last shutdown of the U.S. government was in October 2013. The shutdown lasted 16 days, from Oct. 1 to Oct. 16, 2013.

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Full Answer

The government shutdown of 2013 occurred when the two majority parties in Congress could not agree to a spending bill for the new fiscal year, which begins on October 1 each year. At the start of the new fiscal year, there was no formal agreement in place for funding the federal government, so certain functions of the government were shut down due to lack of a budget. Some core functions viewed as essential, such as military operations and pay, mail delivery, Social Security payments, and Congressional pay, continued despite the shutdown status. About 800,000 federal employees were furloughed during this period.

Some defense contractors and small businesses that work with the government also experienced disruptions. Some services were particularly hard hit by the temporary lack of funding, including Native American tribal governments, shelters for victims of domestic violence and children in the Head Start Program. Some National Parks were also closed, including the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. It was estimated that the shutdown cost the U.S. economy tens of billions of dollars.

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