Current shutdown makes the fourth in past 10 years

October 07, 1990|By New York Times News Service

WASHINGTON -- Federal operations have shut down three times in the last decade because of failures of Congress to pass an operating budget for a new fiscal year.

The previous closures lasted a day or less before the budget impasse was resolved.

The first occasion was Nov. 23, 1981, when President Ronald Reagan, in a struggle with Congress, ordered the furlough of 400,000 of the government's 2.1 million employees, those deemed non-essential to protect life, national security or federal property.

This was the first time a chief executive had ordered so large " "TC shutdown of federal operations.

The Subcommittee on Civil Service of the House Committee on Post Office and Civil Service later estimated that the one-day furlough cost the taxpayers $80 million to $90 million in back pay and related expenses.

On Oct. 4, 1984, an estimated 500,000 of the government's 2.8 million civil servants were sent home at midday because Congress failed to approve a stopgap money bill.

Staying on the job were workers dealing with national security, health, emergency and other essential services.

The workers were back at their desks the next day. Back payments for the half-day furlough were estimated at $65 million.

And on Oct. 17, 1986, at midday, the government sent home 500,000 workers, all classified as non-essential, because Congress failed to pass a spending bill to keep their agencies running.

Again, the partial shutdown lasted only half a day.

The time off was estimated to cost taxpayers more than $61 million in lost work, according to estimates by the Civil Service Subcommittee.

Baltimore Sun Articles
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.