Jan 12, 2019, 12:00 AM ET

Government shutdown becomes the longest in US history


The 22-day partial government shutdown became the longest shutdown in United States history, breaking a record from 1996 on Saturday.

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President Donald Trump and Congress continue to dispute funding for a wall at the southern border, a proposal backed by the president.

Meanwhile, nearly 800,000 federal workers are affected -- many of them missed their first paychecks since the shutdown started on Friday, according to the American Federation of Government Employees. Another one-third will experience a missed paycheck on Monday, with the rest turning up empty on Tuesday.

PHOTO: Hundreds of federal workers and contractors rally against the partial federal government shutdown outside the headquarters of the AFL-CIO, Jan. 10, 2019, in Washington, D.C.Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images
Hundreds of federal workers and contractors rally against the partial federal government shutdown outside the headquarters of the AFL-CIO, Jan. 10, 2019, in Washington, D.C.

About half of those workers -- 420,000 -- are required to work without pay.

On Friday, the closure tied the longest government shutdown in history, which stretched 21 days from December 1995 to January 1996 under President Bill Clinton. A November 1995 Washington Post/ABC News survey found that respondents put most of the blame on the Republican Congress instead of the Clinton administration.

Throughout American history, government shutdowns have been a symbol of dysfunction within the government. Between 1976 and 1996, the government shut down 17 times.

In past shutdowns, federal workers have received back pay after the government resumed operating. But an unknown number of contractors are unlikely to receive compensation.

Negotiations came to a standstill this week after a tense meeting between Trump and Democratic leaders. After refusing the president’s proposal to fund a wall at the southern border, Democrats claimed the president threw a “temper tantrum” walking out of the meeting.

“It’s cold out here and the temperature wasn't much warmer inside the Situation Room," House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said.

PHOTO: Government Shutdown CostABC NEWS
Government Shutdown Cost

The vice president denied those claims insisting the president was calm. "The president walked into the room and passed out candy," Pence said. "It's true. I don't recall him ever raising his voice or slamming his hand," Pence said.

Trump took to Twitter to call the meeting “a total waste of time.” On Thursday, the president signaled that he may declare a national emergency at the border if his administration and Democrats remain without a deal. The White House has directed the Army Corps of Engineers to explore funds in its budget to build the wall. He also canceled his trip to the World Economic Forum in Switzerland citing "Democrats intransigence on border security."

President Donald Trump, with Carolyn Bunny Welsh, sheriff of Chester County, Pa., left, and AJ Louderback, sheriff of Jackson County, Texas, attends a roundtable discussion on border security with local leaders, Friday Jan. 11, 2019.The Associated Press
President Donald Trump, with Carolyn "Bunny" Welsh, sheriff of Chester County, Pa., left, and AJ Louderback, sheriff of Jackson County, Texas, attends a roundtable discussion on border security with local leaders, Friday Jan. 11, 2019.

So far, the Trump administration has tried to blunt the impact on the general public by promising to maintain food assistance through February and bringing back Internal Revenue Service personnel to process tax refunds.

But the longer the shutdown lasts, the more federal agencies will be operating in unknown territory.

One big question is whether subsidies for low-income housing could be at risk. The Department of Housing and Urban Development announced this month that 1,150 contracts with landlords have already expired and that another 500 will expire in January and 500 in February.

HUD officials say evictions have not happened in previous shutdowns.

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  • Thomas

    What's with the drug store cowboy hat? Sitting in a meeting with the president and you can't take off your hat?

  • earl phlegm

    Half of everything I write on ABC gets censored. Except for the Huffington Post, it's the worst place in the world to post the truth, in my opinion. The truth doesn't have a chance here.

  • earl phlegm

    Censorship in the land of Free Speech. How despicable for a mainstream press organization. That's how tyrants operate. The truth never sees the light of day. Only some vague reference to it such as this is allowed to 'prove' that they don't censor.

  • earl phlegm

    Same old ABC'sViews. They won't let my truthful responses get through.

  • ryanwiwb

    And right now Newt Gingrich is crying. His record is gone.

  • Andrew

    The satanic-like republican senators, along with their cruel tRump, are trying to STOP the American government and bring it down like a gang of domestic terrorist, They conspire to bring down our government.
    I think they should be arrested and jailed for conspiracy to bring down our government. I believe the republicans to be guilty of domestic terrorism and conspiracy.

  • Lee Thompson

    How locked in would Trump be to this shutdown if his hotels were affected?

  • lookingahead

    Totally off topic - doesn't AJ Louderback have enough respect for the White House to take his cowboy hat off while indoors? Is this a Texas thing?

  • EC Patriot

    Let's take a look at the Trump Legacy, to date:

    1) Sociopath
    2) Perpetual, Pernicious Prevaricator
    3) Anti-American
    4) Abuser of Authority
    5) Sexist
    6) Constitutional Ignorant
    7) Geographically Ignorant
    8) Fiscally Corrupt
    9) Emotionally Imbalanced
    10) Psychologically Dangerous

    I believe this is a pretty good start. Readers are welcome to add to it, as they're so inclined.

  • Truthfully

    The Trump Shutdown is really the trump TANTRUM!

    The republican senators and trump have definitely shown they Don't care about the American People and their Security!


  • Lawrence Geary

    How sick and twisted is America when working men and women do NOT get paid while working but the horrible republican representatives DO get paid while NOT working. They are sick and twisted. But to all them federal employees who voted for trump and STILL love him-hey-have a good time off. I'm getting paid.

  • Tkirk

    History will record this was trumps shutdown. He said he would be proud to do it; take the credit for it and not blame the Democrats. So regardless what he says...it is his and he owns it. Enjoy...he's making America great again...we might just equal the "Great Depression!" or make the next one "Bigly" better.

  • notagain

    The IRS employees will do the same way the TSA employees are doing. No pay, no work. Let it go another month and they'll be no more sugar coating it Don.

  • Ron Hedman

    How much writing has to be on the wall? Virtually Everything T-rump the boyman does, is a calculated attack on America. Everything he does, hurts and endangers us all. This shutdown is taking the level of danger in America to new heights. From food inspectors, to TSA agents. Anyone that sympathizes with these methods of leadership has gone past the zombie state of mind.

  • Billy Bob

    The GOP & Trump have had the majority in the Senate, House and the WH for 2 years . At no time during those two years did the GOP put a wall-funding referendum into the budget. Two years the GOP did nothing....now this is on the Democrats... No, its not !

  • Justbkind16

    Congratulations to the most self-centered president ever. You own this!