Publication Date



[Excerpt] When federal government agencies and programs lack budget authority, they experience a “funding gap.” Under the Antideficiency Act (31 U.S.C. § 1341 et seq.), they must cease operations, except in certain circumstances. When there is a funding gap that affects many federal entities, the situation is often referred to as a government shutdown. In the past, there have occasionally been government shutdowns, the longest of which lasted 21 days, from December 16, 1995, to January 6, 1996.

This report provides an annotated list of historical documents and other resources related to several past government shutdowns. The report also includes links to full-text documents when available. There is limited information and guidance related to shutdowns, and it is difficult to predict what might happen in the event of one, but information about past events may help inform future deliberations.

This report will be updated as additional resources are identified.


Suggested Citation

Nagel, J. C. & Murray, J. (2011). Past government shutdowns: Key resources [Electronic version]. Washington, DC: Congressional Research Service.